Computing and telecoms UK patent applicants to benefit from EPO prior art search

Applicants filing computing and telecoms patent applications in the UK could now benefit from quicker and better value-for-money searches.

Last year, the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO) and European Patent Office (EPO) entered into an agreement for the EPO to carry out prior art searches on UK patent applications in the biotech sector. Applicants in this sector benefitted from quicker turnaround times for search reports, giving more time to decide on international filing strategies. They also saw a significant cost saving, typically paying £150 for a search worth €1,300 (approximately £1,170 at current rates).

From the UK IPO’s perspective, this collaboration successfully achieved its aim of provide a better service by reducing its backlog processing biotech cases. As such, the UK IPO announced this week that some computing and telecommunications patent applications will now also be searched by the EPO. This means that more applicants will see these speed and cost advantages.

A UK application searched by the EPO may also be eligible for search fee refunds if it is used for a priority claim of a subsequent European patent application, or an international patent application where the EPO is the international searching authority. Whilst it is not possible to request that the EPO carry out the search when filing a UK application, this scheme offers another great reason to file priority-founding patent applications in the UK.

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