A "superfast" patent processing service might raise concerns over the quality of the resulting patents and will therefore not be introduced in the UK. 

Such was the main conclusion of the UK Government at the end of a consultation which was carried out by the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO). The consultation had been launched in April 2013 in response to proposals by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable for a system by which patents could be granted in as little as 90 days.

The consultation revealed that many respondents had several serious concerns about the proposal.  The government's response to the consultation, which published on 21 August 2013 and may be accessed at http://www.ipo.gov.uk/consult-2013-superfast, highlights the following key 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 which offers very little real advantage over existing free acceleration options.

The response also notes that there appeared to be very little likely demand for the proposed superfast service.  Consequently, the Government has decided not to implement the superfast service.  Moreover, no changes will be made to the IPO’s existing acceleration services, under which a patent can be granted in as little as 6½ months.