BRUSSELS, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- Eleven European nations, led by France, Germany and Britain, are implementing a single patent office that will reduce redundant applications for inventions.
Talks to have Italian and Spanish utilized by the simplified bureaucracy broke down, but the remaining 11 countries pressed forward using a step called "enhanced cooperation" that allows EU laws to pass without unanimous agreement among all 27 EU member states, EUobserver reported Saturday.
"This is the first time that we use enhanced cooperation in a dossier that is the essence of EU -- internal market," said Vincent Van Quickenborne, acting Belgian minister for entrepreneurship and simplification.
Quickenborne called the patent law "the cherry on top of the Belgian EU presidency cake."
Applying for patent protection throughout the EU used to cost as much as $105,000. Costs in the future will be as little as a tenth of that, EUobserver said.
A patent in the United States costs $2,445.