Businesses and individuals will be given the option to pay an additional fee to speed up patent applications and potentially have them granted within 90 days under new plans outlined by business secretary Vince Cable.
The Intellectual Property Office (IPO), part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), is aiming to offer the queue-jumping facility to individuals and businesses wishing to secure a patent in three months. Cable announced the scheme as part of a speech on intellectual property on Monday.
"Our creativity, our openness to and talent for innovation is a key pillar of our return to robust growth. So it is right we work to create the environment in which creative, innovative businesses of all shapes and sizes flourish," Cable said in a speech at The Big Innovation Centre in St James's Park, London.
"A vital part of getting this is making sure that the intellectual property landscape encourages and cements success and growth. This new vision for how we support businesses and consumers is central to achieving this."
BIS could not say how much the service would cost at the time of writing.
"Some patent applicants, who might be SMEs or larger companies, may wish to establish their rights as quickly as possible, either to deter potential infringers or to secure funding," said an IPO spokeswoman.
BIS said the service will be a quicker version of the one currently offered, but without compromises in terms of delivery or efficiency.
"Our creativity, our openness to and talent for innovation is a key pillar of our return to robust growth" — Vince Cable
On Wednesday, the European Union said it will introduce a new unitary patent system, expected in early 2014, that will see the cost of filing for a continent-wide patent cut by up to 80 percent.
BIS is also offering a fast-track trademark service that will halve the time for the examination report to be delivered from 10 days to five days. BIS said the service is likely to cost around £300; it currently costs from £170.
"Sometimes businesses want to know quickly whether something is likely to work as a trademark (TM) or whether it is likely to clash with existing TMs, before taking decisions on marketing, packaging or taking other steps to bring their products or services to market," said the IPO spokeswoman.
BIS also announced several other plans that will come into effect next year, including efforts to raise awareness of counterfeiting and online piracy, and to tackle IP crime and illegal downloading.