Formalities Manual (online version)

The Formalities Manual explains the Intellectual Property Office's formalities examination practice under the Patents Act 1977.

The purpose of this manual is to provide detailed, up-to-date guidelines as to the practice and procedures to be followed in the various aspects of the formalities examination of patent applications in accordance with the Patents Act 1977 and the Patents Rules 2007.

The guidelines are intended primarily for staff in the Patents Formalities Groups for use as desk instructions in carrying out their daily duties. Case advice should be sought from the Head of Administration when situations which are not addressed in the manual come to light.

In addition to dealing with normal patent applications filed under s.14 and s.15(9) of the Patent Act 1977 the manual also deals with the practice and procedures to be followed in processing national phase patent applications filed under s.89.

Statements made in the Manual are not in themselves an authority for any action by the IPO and should not be used as a set of legal requirements. The Patents Act 1977 and the Patents Rules 2007 are the ultimate authority on practice.

The manual will be updated when necessary to reflect changes in legislation or practice. If you notice any errors please email enquiries@ipo.gov.uk.

  1. Chapter 1: Patents and Formalities Section (1.01 - 1.16) last updated: March 2017.
  2. Chapter 2: Request for grant of a patent (Form 1) Section (2.01 - 2.70) last updated: March 2017.
  3. Chapter 3: The inventor Sections (3.01 - 3.38) last updated: March 2017.
  4. Chapter 4: Description, claims and abstract Section (4.01 - 4.94) last updated: March 2017.
  5. Chapter 5: The drawings Section (5.01 - 5.56) last updated: March 2017.
  6. Chapter 6: Declaration of priority Sections (6.01 - 6.66) last updated: March 2017.
  7. Chapter 7: Preliminary examination and reports Section (7.01 - 7.58 ) last updated: March 2017.
  8. Chapter 8: A publication Section (8.01 - 8.74) last updated March 2017.
  9. Chapter 9: Post publication formalities examination Sections (9.01 - 9.34) last updated: March 2017
  10. Chapter 10: Extension of time limits (Rule 108 and Rule 109) Sections (10.01 to 10.84) last updated: March 2017.
  11. Chapter 11: Case management Section (11.01 - 11.67 ) last updated: March 2017.
  12. Chapter 12: Miscellaneous Sections (12.01 to 12.100) last updated: March 2017.
  13. Chapter 13: Applications under the PCT Section (13.01 - 13.144) last updated March 2017.
  14. Chapter 14: Divisional applications Section (14.01 -14.39) last updated: March 2017.
  15. Chapter 15: Private Applicants Section (15.01 - 15.16) last updated: March 2017.
  16. Chapter 16: Certified office copies (COC) Section (16.01 - 16.37) last updated: March 2017.