The Government has recently carried out a consultation on how the proposed new ‘superfast’ patent service should work.
Currently, it can take a number of years to gain patent protection. Whilst such a timescale may be suitable for many applicants, as it allows them time to make important commercial decisions and change their strategy in light of any decisions, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) appreciates that it does not suit everyone’s needs. The IPO already offers optional accelerated processing at each stage of the patent application process, which means that a patent can be granted in less than a year. Whilst this is very quick by international patent processing standards, the IPO recognises that sometimes there are circumstances where the applicant would find it useful to obtain a grant of a patent even more quickly. The intention, therefore, is that the new processing service will be able to grant patents in just 90 days on payment of an additional fee.
The consultation focused on:
- the principles on which such a service could be based;
- the conditions that would apply in order to use the superfast service;
- the details of how such a service should work in practice, including fee levels; and
- the usefulness of existing patent acceleration services.