Green Channel Accelerated Processing for UK Patent Applications
On 26th November 2014 Green Channel accelerated patent prosecution statistics were released under the Freedom of Information act.
The Green Channel for UK patent applications came into effect on 12th May 2009, applying to all applications filed both before and after that date. In order to benefit from Green Channel processing the invention to which the application relates must have an “environmental benefit”. It is worth noting that an “environmental benefit” includes not only ‘green’ technology, such as applications relating to solar panels or wind turbines etc but also applies to applications relating to, for example, more efficient manufacturing processes which use less energy. There is no specific environmental standard to meet in order to benefit from the Green Channel and the IPO does not conduct any detailed investigation into the assertions. However, the UKIPO will refuse requests if it is clear that the application has no “environmental benefit”.
A request for Green Channel accelerated processing must be made in writing by the applicant. The request must state how the application has environmental benefit and which actions are to be accelerated (ie Search, Combined Search and Examination, Publication, and/or Examination). There is no extra fee required for Green Channel accelerated processing.
According to the Green Channel patent statistics recently released (correct to 30th April 2013), there have been 969 requests filed since the Green Channel process was started. Of those requests only 13 were refused, predominantly because the technology concerned was not considered to be of environmental benefit.
In addition, the average time from request to grant using the Green Channel process has been 11 months overall. Although the average for the tax years 2011/12 and 2012/13 were 8 months and 7 months respectively, suggesting an even quicker grant.
Therefore, it appears that requesting Green Channel processing can considerably decrease the time to grant for an application at no additional cost. Consequently if an application requires accelerated grant it appears advisable to first consider whether the invention has an environmental benefit of any kind and if so requesting Green Channel processing.
This article was prepared by Anna Bartholomew who can be contacted on +44 (0) 113 2460151 or email@example.com.
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