Earlier this year, the Intellectual Property Office (formerly known as the Patent Office) launched a new service which allows applicants to request accelerated processing of their patent application if the invention relates to a 'green' or environmentally-friendly technology.
The Intellectual Property Office has suggested that, for certain applications, it might be possible to obtain a granted patent via the Green Channel within 9-12 months of an application being filed, rather than the more usual timescale of 2 to 4 years.
The new service is said to form part of the Government's broader approach on measures to tackle climate change, and to reflect the importance of new technology which could have an impact on climate change and other environmental concerns.
To enter the Green Channel, the applicant, or his representative, merely submits a written request indicating:
- that their application relates to a 'green' or environmentally-friendly technology and
- which actions they wish to accelerate: Search, Combined Search and Examination, Publication, and/or Examination.
In a departure from previous policy, the Intellectual Property Office will require no other reasons for the processing of a patent application to be accelerated. For other technologies, the "old" rules still apply, namely that the applicant must provide adequate reasons why the processing of an application should be accelerated - for example if an applicant knows of an infringement and needs the grant of a patent in order to take action.
Green Channel requests can be filed for existing applications already in the system, as well as for newly filed applications.
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