The UK’s Intellectual Property Office is widely considered to be one of the most efficient in the world. It serves rights owners and their advisors very well
says Harper James Head of IP, Lindsay Gledhill.
'Following Brexit, it successfully completed the mammoth task of absorbing hundreds of thousands of trade marks and registered designs cloned from EU rights.'
'But the IPO can’t rest on its laurels – and its current five-year plan, known as One IPO, should ensure it continues to offer a service worthy of the innovations that patent applicants bring to it.'
The IPO is coming to the end of the first phase of the transformation project. The patents service, considered by the IPO to be the part of its operations most in need of modernisation, will be the first to migrate to the new system, and in September the current patent searching facility on the IPO website, known as Ipsum, will be replaced. Users will be able to search by keywords, owner, date of registration, and status. They will be able to save searches, and to build their own patent journal containing patents and applications of interest to them.
At the same time, a small number of customers will be given access to a pilot of the rest of the new patents service, prior to its general roll-out in Spring 2024. A new digital application process, replacing the existing system, which is being phased out, will allow applicants or their agents to submit documents in the order that suits them; to save drafts of their applications; and to see their applications’ statuses at any time. A new customer accounts service will enable them to manage and track all their applications in one place. In addition, the IPO will release APIs, enabling IP software providers to link their products direct to the IPO’s new systems.
The next stage will be to put all the IPO’s work onto the same system – trade marks and registered designs will join patents on the One IPO platform.
Patent owners and applicants who entrust their filings to us, or to other professional representatives, will notice little if any difference, as they won’t have to access the system themselves.
But they might feel that things are proceeding more smoothly and speedily than in the past. Applicants in person should also find the new system easier to navigate, though the legal complexities of applying for a patent won’t change. And everyone who needs patent information, including not only solicitors and patent attorneys in private practice but also patent departments in industry, which pore over new applications for interesting technologies, and private inventors, should find the new search features very useful.