A new “Right Start” service and price advantages for electronic filings are due to be introduced by the UK Intellectual Property Office. Omar Bucchioni summarises these new changes.
Topic: Intellectual property
Who: Intellectual Property Office (IPO)
Where: United Kingdom
When: 9 July 2009
Law stated as at: 31 July 2009
In March 2009, the Intellectual Property Office (“IPO”) published a consultation paper entitled “Helping Businesses Register Trade Marks and Patents” which put forward a number of proposals in relation to fees and IPO services. The associated consultation period ended on 1 June 2009 and a total of 16 proposals were received, including responses from bodies representing trade mark and patent attorneys and intellectual property owners.
As reported on the IPO website (see http://www.ipo.gov.uk/about/press/press-release/press-release-2009/press-release-20090706.htm), IPO has recently announced that a number of new services will be implemented on 1 October 2009 which are aimed at enabling businesses to register trade marks more cheaply and easily. The proposals to be introduced include:
- A “Right Start” service for trade marks – A business using the new ‘Right Start’ service will be able to defer payment of half the usual £200 trade mark application fee until after it has seen IPO’s assessment of whether the mark it wishes to register can actually be registered. If there any problems, the business will have an opportunity to informally discuss them with the trade mark examiner before deciding whether to proceed with the application and pay the balance of the fees; and
- An E-filing initiative – This will offer a £30 reduction in application fees for e-filed trade marks where the full discounted fee is paid at the time of filing, and a £10 reduction in the application fee applicable for e-filed patent applications. It also offers reduced fees for e-filed patent search and examination requests.
Regarding such services, David Lammy, the Minister of State for Intellectual Property, has said:
“We are committed to supporting businesses in these difficult economic times, and our Right Start and E-filing initiatives make it easier and cheaper for trade mark owners, and in particular small businesses, to register and protect their brands.
Registering a trade mark is an important step for a business to take. By protecting their intellectual property they are protecting their innovative ideas of the future.
Failing to do this risks them losing their investment in developing successful brands for their products and services.”
Why this matters:
These seem to be interesting proposals for those interested in patents and trade marks. It appears however that you can only benefit either from the £30 reduction in fees afforded by the e-filing initiative or the deferred payment of the application fee under the Right Start service. Furthermore, the informal, and potentially useful, discussions trade mark applicants can have with a trade mark examiner regarding their pending applications will cost £100. We should soon be able to tell whether the “Right Start” service is attractive to applicants and whether it will prove to be a helpful service for businesses.
The Trade Mark Rules 2008 (and related fees rules) and the Patents (Fees) Rules 2007 will soon also be amended to the extent necessary to effect these new service changes.
The full responses to the consultation paper can be found on the IPO website at http://www.ipo.gov.uk/pro-policy/consult/consult-closed/consult-closed-2009.htm.