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UK drops plans for superfast patents

The UK government has ditched plans to allow IP owners to pay for a 90-day patent processing service following a consultation with IP Office users

The Office published its consultation paper in April, asking users whether they would be willing to pay for an expedited service. Although some were in favour, others raised concerns that it could lead to the granting of invalid patents; that it would place a heavier burden on third parties to monitor applications and respond more quickly; and that early publication could prove a commercial disadvantage to applicants. Nor were respondents convinced of the benefits of paying a fee estimated at between £3,500 and £4,000 ($5,500 - $6,250) for a superfast service when the IPO already operates accelerated search and examination services.

The IPO received 22 responses from patent attorney groups, IP professionals and businesses. Now the government says that there appears to be insufficient demand for a new superfast service.

The plan for superfast patent grants was announced by UK Business Secretary Vince Cable in December as part of a series of measures the government was proposing to boost creativity and innovation. One week later the government revealed controversial proposals to widen the exceptions in the country’s copyright laws.

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