Tuesday, 7 January 2014

UK Examination Deadlines - Don't be Fooled

I bet you barely read those standard letters from the UK IPO? It must be mortifying for those that draft them because they do care ( I know because I attended one of their consultations recently since small users count with the IPO if not with OHIM). Hopefully the unrepresented applicants do read them as they contain important information about what an applicant needs to do to become a patentee as opposed to merely an applicant.

The picture shows the new flyer that comes with your publication letter and look - the bit on the bottom is not the same.  It says they are not going to remind you again about the examination deadline any more. The practice change is described in full on the website here.  Hopefully there were not many professional representatives who relied on that second letter. I hardly ever got any because I am a big fan of the combined search and examination approach. Nevertheless there are 3000 of those letters posted annually to other people who are content that their patent applications should take years to mature.  I have one case on my docket that came from another agent. The Form 10 was filed on 20 December 2011 and it still has not been examined so  it sits on my docket looking just like a European Patent application except without the renewal fees.

Under the new regime if you don't request exam within 6 months of the publication (or 8 if you are prepared to pay the extra fee) your application will just die quietly - treated as withdrawn - not refused. You might never know if you have not got a decent docketing system and/or review those sleepy files regularly. I wonder when they will update IPSum.  This could be a good business opportunity for the increasingly ASA harassed invoice senders.

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