‘Superfast’ UK patent applications – not so super

The UK Intellectual Property Office published a consultation paper earlier this year, entitled ‘Accelerated patent processing at the Intellectual Property Office: Introduction of a superfast service’. The consultation sought views on a proposal for a new ‘superfast’ UK patent processing service which would reduce the period from filing to grant of patent to as little as 90 days on payment of additional fees in the region of £3500--£4000.  The consultation also invited feedback on the existing options for accelerating UK patent applications.

The UK Government recently published its response to the consultation. Concluding that there could be a risk to the quality of UK patents granted under such a scheme, the Government has decided not to implement the proposed superfast service.

Respondents had raised some serious concerns about the proposed service, in particular:

  • a higher risk of granting invalid patents, creating uncertainty for both patent holders and third parties;
  • an increased burden on third parties to monitor applications and make observations in a severely shortened timeframe;
  • a risk that rapid grant would be perceived as advantageous, when in fact it could be damaging, due to early publication in particular; and
  • payment of a large fee for a service which offers very little real advantage over existing free acceleration options.

For these reasons and others, there appeared to be no real demand for the new service.

The existing options for accelerating UK Patent applications were considered to work well and meet business needs.  As such, no changes have been made to the UK IPO’s existing acceleration options, under which it is possible for a patent to be granted in as little as 6½ months.

So, it is business as usual for UK patent applicants. 

If you wish to discuss the options for accelerated processing of a UK patent application, please speak to your usual Wilson Gunn patent attorney.

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