The UK Patent Office ( UK IPO ) has introduced a fast tracking process for UK patent applications which relate to ‘green’ or environmentally friendly technology. If this is requested, then publication of the application will take place after about 6 weeks, and if the application is in order, then grant will take place following the statutory 3 months after publication.

If the Examiner raises any issues during examination, then these can be taken care of during the 3 month period following publication.

The 3 month period following publication is statutory to allow any third party to submit observations against grant.

The ‘green’ or environmentally friendly fast tracking can be requested in writing. No evidence is required. Acceptance by the UK IPO is discretionary, but as long as the invention relates to ‘green’ or environmentally friendly technology, then it will be accepted. In any event, the Examiner will inform us if the request has been successful.

The European Patent Office ( EPO ) has had a little known fast tracking process for many years, called the Programme for Accelerated Prosecution of European patent applications ( PACE ).

This can be requested in writing at any time. Again, no evidence or specific reason is required.

If requested prior to the search, then the search report will be issued as soon as possible thereafter. If requested prior to an examination report, then the examination report should be issued within 3 months of the request.

Typically, a PACE request can lead to grant of a European patent within 12 months assuming examination proceeds smoothly.