The Intellectual Property Office has a routine policy in line with the Public Records Act 1958 (as amended) for the disposal of all documents in paper and electronic format where they are not retained by the National Archives.
In addition, the office has routinely disposed of paper patent documents according to an approved Disposal Schedule since 26 June 2006.
Standards for the document retention and disposal policy
With purely electronic processing of patent applications the accuracy and quality of electronic images is of prime importance.
BS10008 is the British Standard which governs the admissibility of electronic documents in legal proceedings.
Compliance with this standard will also mean conformance to ISO 15801, an International Standard governing the trustworthiness and reliability of electronic information.
Timescale of retention of scanned paper documents
All scanned paper documents will be retained for 7 years from the date of scanning before being shredded.
Any documents relating to matters dealt with by Litigation Section, applications for SPCs and patent applications under the PCT will be retained for 10 years from the date of scanning.