More than 40 years ago the EU began a discussion on the formation of a common European patent in order to make it easier and less costly for companies to register new products.
In June leaders finally agreed to divide up the functions of the patent court between Britain, France and Germany.
The new Unified Patent Court will be based in Paris with two other sections established in London and Munich.
Bernhard Rapkay is a MEP from the centre-left grouping:
“It is a big day, it is important for a better integration of Europe. First of all it is an important day for our very innovative small and medium sized businesses.”
The current system of product registration is 60 times more expensive in Europe than in China.
Spain and Italy have both refused to join the scheme.
Sergio Gaetano Cofferati is an Italian MEP from centre-left grouping:
“The Berlusconi government placed an objection in the past in order to protect the Italian language. But I think that position is no more and it was a mistake in the first place.”
The new system is due to come into force on January 1, 2014 and will vastly reduce the overheads of entrepreneurs as they attempt to introduce new innovations into the European market.
Our correspondent in Strasbourg said:
“The idea of a single patent in Europe was born 45 years ago. And now it has to become a reality. Innovators will like this simplification especially now, in a time of crisis. Natalia Richardson-Vikulina, euronews, Strasbourg”