The UK ratified the Patent Law Treaty last month, an international treaty that simplifies and streamlines procedures for obtaining and maintaining a patent. It will come into force in the UK on 26th March.

The UK has already carried out the regulatory changes necessary to implement the Treaty, so no further legislative changes are required.

The Patent Law Treaty, which was adopted by the member states of WIPO in 2000, is intended to harmonise and streamline, on a worldwide basis, formal patent procedures relating to national and regional patent applications and maintenance of patents.

The Treaty does not attempt to harmonise patent laws. Instead, the approach is more to the administrative side of the patent process.

At present, inventors seeking patent protection must follow certain rules. Some inventors lose their potential right to a patent because they make mistakes with these rules. The rules vary from country to country, which compounds the difficulty for the inventor. The Treaty simplifies the rules and makes them the same in all participating countries.

The Treaty came into force in April last year, following its ratification by 10 countries.

Thanks to John Lambert's nipclaw blog for bringing this development to our attention.