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Prosecuting a patent application from filing to grant can be a long winded process lasting, in some cases, many years. An application needs to be searched and then published before being examined. Delays at the UK Intellectual Property Office in certain technology fields can mean that examination reports take years rather than months to issue and delays at the European Patent Office (EPO) have, in extreme cases, meant that applications have remained pending for even longer.
In many cases applicants may be happy to proceed at a slow pace because it allows an invention to be developed and marketing/commercialisation plans put in place. The cost of the patent process can also be spread out over time. There are however circumstances where a more speedy grant would be useful, for example where you think someone is using your invention and you want a granted patent to allow some kind of infringement action to be taken or where an investor asks for a granted patent before they release funds for the development of your company/invention.
Both the UKIPO and the EPO offer a range of acceleration procedures that can help get a granted patent more quickly. The various options for these two patent offices are discussed below. (more…)
The EPO offers a number of mechanisms for expediting the grant procedure. As noted in the EPO’s November 2015 notice these include:
- PACE (see below for changes)
- Waiving the confirm to proceed notification under rule 70(2) EPC
- Waiving the rules 161/162 EPC communication
- Waiving a further communication under rule 71(3) EPC
- Early entry into the European phase
During post grant proceedings the above EPO Notice also highlights accelerated processing of oppositions where infringement proceedings have been instituted and accelerated processing before the Boards of Appeal.
From 1 January 2016, (Happy New Year everyone!), the EPO has tweaked the operation of the PACE programme slightly. Full details can be found in the EPO’s PACE Notice dated 30 November 2015. The highlights are as follows: (more…)
Last week IPcopy had the pleasure of attending the annual meeting of AIPLA in Washington. As well as listening to some of the hot issues of the day on the US side of the pond (section 101/patent eligibility and non-practising entities in particular – see our earlier post here) we also got the chance to get some US practitioner’s thoughts on the European patent landscape.
What follows below therefore are some European developments that may be of interest to our US colleagues. (more…)