HC Deb 05 December 1989 vol 163 cc153-4W
Sir Dudley Smith

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he is satisfied that the European Patent Office is in a fully competitive position with the United States of America and other parts of the world.

Mr. Forth

[holding answer 30 November 1989]: The European Patent Office is not in competition with the United States patent and trade mark office and patent offices in other parts of the world. In order to obtain a patent in a state which is a member of the European Patent Organisation (13 European states including the United Kingdom), an application must be made either to the EPO or to the national patent office of the state concerned.

The EPO is very successful and last year attracted more than 50,000 applications—far more than predicted when the office was established in 1977.