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UK and US call to make the most of international patent system

The UK’s Fast Track system, originally introduced in June 2010 with the aim of getting business’ patents granted faster and more cheaply, will…

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


The UK’s Fast Track system, originally introduced in June 2010 with the aim of getting business’ patents granted faster and more cheaply, will now give applicants the chance to make changes to an international application, and still have the opportunity to request accelerating processing in the UK. This change removes a bureaucratic hurdle and increases the flexibility and accessibility of the patent application process.

The PCT system helps businesses and other applicants save money and time with a more efficient way of gaining global protection for their patents. It also helps reduce the current backlog of patent applications estimated to be costing the global economy more than £7 billion a year. Fewer than 10 per cent of the two million applications for worldwide patent protection use the PCT system at present.

In an effort to boost use of the PCT, the UKIPO, working in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), have developed a strategy, called PCT 20/20, that will help improve the quality of the system and make it easier to use.

John Alty, UKIPO’s Chief Executive, said:

“The PCT has been a remarkable success with patent applicants since its inception and undoubtedly helped make the global patent system more efficient. That’s good news for both businesses and IP offices, but further improvements have the potential to deliver significant benefits.

” Working together, the USPTO and the UKIPO have set out a compelling vision for PCT 20/20. We have also improved the PCT(UK) Fast Track system to the advantage of applicants who will experience a more straightforward system as will applicants new to the process. We want our proposals to spark debate and drive forward positive change.”

USPTO Director Dave Kappos said:

“The PCT has been a very successful work-sharing system in the international patent community. We feel that the system can be further improved in a manner that will benefit users, offices and all PCT member states. Accordingly, in cooperation with our colleagues from the UKIPO, we have developed a number of suggestions for PCT improvement and included them in the PCT 20/20 proposal.”

The UK IPO will be working with the USPTO, the World Intellectual Property Organisation, and other international partners to develop and implement the ideas in the PCT 20/20.

**Notes to editors

**1. The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is within the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills (BIS) and is responsible for the national framework of Intellectual Property rights, comprising patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.

  1. Its role is to help manage an IP system that encourages innovation and creativity, balances the needs of consumers and users, promotes strong and competitive markets and is the foundation of the knowledge-based economy.

  2. It operates in a national and an international environment and its work is governed by national and international law, including various international treaties relating to Intellectual Property (IP) to which the United Kingdom is a party.

  3. For further information, please contact Veena Mapara on 0207 215 5614.

  4. For emergency media calls out-of-hours please contact the duty press officer at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on +44 (0) 207 215 3505.

Notes to Editors

Contact Information

Name BIS Press Office Job Title

Division Department for Business, Innovation & Skills Phone




Name Veena Mapara Job Title

Division Department for Business, Innovation & Skills Phone 020 7215 5614 Fax



Published 8 June 2012