Online UK patent inspection service launched


A new free patent inspection service from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) will save UK businesses the cost and delay of requesting patent documents.

The new online service, called Ipsum, could speed up innovation and save life science companies thousands of pounds each year by providing instant, free access to patent documents.

This initiative is a response to the Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth, which noted that patent backlogs were having a negative effect on innovation and business growth.

The previous system charged a company £5 for every document, with significant waiting times. Ipsum is updated in real time, which is hugely important for rapidly evolving industries such as medical technologies.

The service is open to anyone – so it can be used by companies, patent attorneys and inventors seeking to protect innovative ideas.

Minister for Intellectual Property Baroness Wilcox, launching the new system at the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys congress in London, said: “Ipsum is free, so it removes unnecessary costs for businesses. The service will give businesses, universities and consumers instant access to the information they need so they can understand the progress of patent applications and save money.

“Patent examiners around the world will also benefit as they can now immediately understand why the UK Intellectual Property Office did, or did not, grant a patent. This could help reduce the global back log of applications benefiting UK business hoping to get their patents processed in another country.”

The service is available on the IPO website.

“This online access to patent files will certainly make it easier and quicker for our profession to get hold of up-to-date information,” commented Tim Roberts, President of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys. “It will also make the patent system more transparent and understandable for business people and the general public.”

The IPO is part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).