On 17 April 2013, whilst we were contemplating a ‘raised bar’ for patents in Australia, the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) launched a consultation process for a “superfast” patent processing service.
According to information released as part of the consultation process, the standard processing time for a UK patent application to proceed from filing to grant is about 4.5 years. This can be reduced to about 21 months if combined search and examination is requested at the time of filing. Current acceleration services provided by the UKIPO (Green Channel, Patent Prosecution Highway, PCT(UK) Fast Track) including combined search and examination, can see the processing time reduce to 12 months.
What can be expected under “superfast”? The proposal is that for payment of a fee in the range of £3,500-£4,000 (about AU$5,500-AU$6,300), an application could proceed to grant in less than 90 days.
In contrast to the current acceleration services mentioned above, no reason for acceleration will be needed. Presumably, having the money so early in the patenting process is sufficient reason.
The consultation process closed in mid-June 2013, so it will be interesting to see if the proposal results in a new UKIPO service, and if so, given the relatively high cost, the level of demand.