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Reviewed 12 May 2009

UK 'Green' inventions to get fast-tracked through patent system

David Lammy, Minister for Intellectual Property, will today launch an initiative which will enable inventions with an environmental benefit to be given priority within the patent system.

The proposal, which forms part of the Government’s broader approach on measures to tackle climate change, reflects the importance of maximising support for inventions which could have a significant impact on combating climate change.

David Lammy said:

“Climate change affects us all and any actions we take now to improve low-carbon technology has got to be positive for both the environment and our future economic competitiveness.

"We have already taken great steps forward in greener motoring, supporting the development of new vehicles and encouraging motorists to make greener choices.

"Today’s initiative builds on this by offering innovative UK businesses working in green technologies the chance to get high-quality patent rights faster than ever before. This in turn will speed up the time it takes to get products to market, benefiting both business and consumers.”

The green patents initiative will make it easier and faster for new products to reach the market. It could take only nine months to get a patent granted under this scheme, compared with the current average time of two-to-three years.

The ‘green’ patents initiative was one of the key deliverables announced at the UK/China Economic and Financial Dialogue on 11 May, with China already agreeing to adopt the proposal.

The Intellectual Property Office is working with other major trading partners to get them to sign-up to the green patents fast-track system.

This initiative will take immediate effect from 12 May, as no legislative changes are required.

Notes to Editors

  • Case studies of businesses that have recently filed a ‘green’ patent, or who will benefit from the fast-tracked channel are available for interview - details on request.
  • The Intellectual Property Office is within the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) and is responsible for the national framework of Intellectual Property rights, comprising patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.
  • Intellectual Property plays a central role in translating innovation and creativity into economic growth and social benefit.
  • Accelerated search and/or examination of the patent application will be made available to any patent applicant who makes a reasonable assertion that the invention in the patent application is one which has some environmental benefit. The application will be fully searched and examined by a technically-qualified patent examiner.

Date of release: 12 May 2009