Knowledge Hub

Knowledge Hub provides a range of information sheets to answer any general IP queries that you may have. From introductions to IP, to information on legal practice and legal principles, we have it covered.

Our information sheets are also all available to download as PDFs.

Patents - Prosecution and Procedure

European Patent Prosecution

The path to obtaining a European patent can be viewed as a multi-stage process. Firstly, at the filing stage, the applicant must provide the European Patent Office (EPO) with sufficient information to be awarded a filing date for the application.

The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)

The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is an international agreement under the Paris Convention to promote international cooperation in the field of patents.

PCT Prosecution: Delaying National/Regional Phase Entry

The deadline for UK or European entry of an international (PCT) application can sometimes be delayed beyond the normal 31 month time limit via the EPO or UKIPO.

The Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) System

By agreement between the offices and on request of a patent applicant, the work product of one patent office that has already allowed the application or given a positive International Preliminary Report on Patentability (IPRP) (the Office of Earlier Examination “OEE”) is used in the examination of the patent application of the same family in another patent office (the Office of Later Examination “OLE”), provided that the applicant presents only the allowable claims in the OLE application.

Euro-PCT Patent Application Route

A European patent application can be obtained by entering the European regional phase from an International PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) application, commonly referred to as the “Euro-PCT route”.

Grant of European Patents: I’ve received an R71(3) – now what?

After substantive examination, if an Examiner considers that a European patent application meets the requirements of the EPC, the Examiner will issue a communication indicating their intention to grant the application (a communication under Rule 71(3) EPC), but then what happens?

The UKIPO Green Channel

The UK Intellectual Property Office offers accelerated processing for patent applications if the invention has an environmental benefit, via the Green Channel scheme. Applicants can request to accelerate any of the following: search, examination, search and examination, and/or publication. There is no official fee for applying to use this service.

Accelerated Prosecution at the EPO

Obtaining patent protection for an invention at the European Patent Office (EPO) can take a considerable amount of time. Due to rigorous search and examination procedures undertaken by European patent Examiners, and time taken for Applicants to formulate and submit a response to communications issued by the EPO, it takes on average 4 years to obtain a granted European (EP) patent.

Filing restrictions: Where you file matters

When filing a patent application for an invention, some countries impose restrictions on where and how the first application for the invention can be filed.