Feeds

UK patent office ponders fast-tracking patents and trade marks

Considers Gowers Review recommendations

Remote control for virtualized desktops

The UK Intellectual Property Office has launched a public consultation (pdf) on proposals to introduce a fast-track system for patent and trade mark applications. The plan builds on a suggestion made in the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property.

HM Treasury commissioned former Financial Times editor Andrew Gowers to review the UK's intellectual property laws. Two of the recommendations in his December 2006 report focused on the speed at which patents and trade marks are processed and granted.

Patents

Gowers acknowledged an existing fast-track process for patents. The process is limited, though, and little used. It allows for accelerated search and/or examination. But patent applicants must give "adequate reasons" for using this fast-track service and the UKIPO's criteria for approving or rejecting such requests are unclear.

The UKIPO advocates a new accelerated grant process that would be open to all applicants on payment of a premium of between £300 and £600. It envisages that a typical application could be granted in under a year under the proposed fast-track process, compared with two-to-three years for a typical application under the current, non-accelerated system.

Trade marks

For trade marks there is currently no form of accelerated examination offered by the UKIPO. Applications are simply examined in the order in which they are received. Again, Gowers recommended a fast-track service for a premium fee. "In today’s fast moving business environment products are regularly launched within short timescales," said the Gowers Review.

The UKIPO proposes a new system which will enable trade mark applicants to request examination within 10 business days as opposed to the four to six week timescale a standard application can take currently.

The current application fees for a trade mark are £200 for an application (covering one trade mark "class") and a fee of £50 for each additional class requested. For a fast-track application the UKIPO is proposing a fee of £500 for the application (covering one class); the cost for an additional class will remain at £50.

Lee Curtis, a trade mark attorney with Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind OUT-LAW.COM, said that the accelerated trade mark procedure will not accelerate the process significantly.

"At present the trade mark process can take from six months to a few years," said Curtis. "This proposal only shaves a few weeks off that total period."

Curtis said UK trade mark applications usually get examined in around six to eight weeks and the UKIPO has already said it aims to examine applications within one month from October. "The new proposals simply mean that, for an extra payment of £300, an application will be guaranteed to be examined in 10 days of filing," he said.

"I'm not sure how attractive that will be because the applications still have to go through the three-month advertisement period and other steps," he said. "It's good to have an option for a faster system, but this is not a radical plan by any means."

The deadline for responses to the consultation is 14 December 2007.

Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The hidden costs of self-signed SSL certificates
Exploring the true TCO for self-signed SSL certificates, including a side-by-side comparison of a self-signed architecture versus working with a third-party SSL vendor.