As reported here on 22 April, the UKIPO opened a consultation on a new accelerated prosecution service dubbed “superfast”. The intention of this service was to offer a premium accelerated prosecution service in addition to the free acceleration services currently available, which can already bring the time taken to obtain a UK patent to less than a year.
The Government has now publised their response to the consultation which can be found here. Not unsurprisingly, a number of concerns were raised and the Government has decided not to go ahead with the proposal.
In particular, the report notes that respondents raised the following concerns:
- 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
- Payment of a large fee for a service [the original consultation suggested a figure as high as £4000!] which offers very little real advantage over existing free acceleration options, which already meet business needs (and are capable of delivering grant in as little as 6½ months)
So, after careful consideration the Government has decided to not to implement the proposed superfast service. The existing acceleration procedures at the UKIPO are unaffected and still available. Existing procedures comprise: combined search & exam, accelerated search or accelerated exam, early publication, the “Green channel” for green technology and possibly the Patent Prosecution Highway and PCT (UK) Fast Track.
Mark Richardson 22 August 2013