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Requests for electronic uncertified copies from patent files

Introduction

1. The comptroller has given the following Directions under section 124A of the Patents Act 1977 ("the Act") to direct the form and manner in which requests for electronic uncertified copies from patent files may be delivered to him in electronic form or using electronic communications.

2. These Directions and any others made under s.124A set out the extent to which such requests may be delivered to the comptroller in electronic form or using electronic communications.

3. These Directions come into force on 21 January 2008.

Interpretation

4. In these Directions:

"application" means an application under the Act;

"electronic request" means a request for electronic uncertified copies made under rule 48(2) of the Rules and delivered via the web interface;

"the Office" means the Patent Office or, where appropriate, the comptroller;

"online", in relation to a document being delivered, refers to a document that has been transmitted from one device to another by means of an electronic communications network (within the meaning of section 32 of the Communications Act 2003);

"patent" means a patent under the Act;

"the Rules" means the Patents Rules 2007;

"user" means a person using the web interface to deliver an electronic request;

"web interface" means the Office's dedicated web page for filing electronic requests.

5. In these Directions, "Patents Form 23" shall be construed as a reference to a document containing the information required by Patents Form 23 as set out in directions under section 123(2A) of the Act.

6. In these Directions, "delivered" and related expressions, means delivered to the Office and for the purposes of the Act and the Rules an electronic request shall be treated as filed at the time it was delivered.

Electronic requests for uncertified copies

7. An electronic request for an uncertified copy of documents relating to a published patent or application may only be made via the web interface. The making of an electronic request in accordance with these Directions shall be treated as the filing of Patents Form 23.

8. An electronic request may not be made in relation to an unpublished application.

9. An electronic request shall be taken as a request for the delivery of an uncertified copy of the requested documents in electronic form.

10. In response to an electronic request which is delivered in accordance with these Directions, subject to paragraph 11, an uncertified copy of the requested documents will be issued to the user in PDF format by email.

11. If the total file size of the requested documents exceeds 10 MB, a compact disk containing an uncertified copy of the requested documents in PDF format will be issued to the user by post.

Online filing of an electronic request

12. An electronic request can be sent online via the web interface at any time, except between 01.00 and 02.30 hours UK time.

13. A user may only deliver an electronic request if he also submits his email address and postal address.

Acknowledgment

14. Where an electronic request has been delivered online an acknowledgement will be issued to the user by email.

15. Where no email is issued in accordance with paragraph 14, the electronic request will be treated as not complying with these Directions.

16. The email will include:

(a) the date of delivery at the Office; and

(b) an electronic copy of Patents Form 23 containing the details of the electronic request.

Payment of fees

17. An electronic request shall be treated as not complying with these Directions until the fee prescribed by the Patents (Fees) Rules 2007 for Patents Form 23, on request for an uncertified copy, has been paid.

18. The prescribed fee shall be paid via the web interface at the time of making the electronic request.

19. The prescribed fee may be paid using a deposit account held with the Office or by credit–card or debit–card.

Ian Fletcher
Comptroller-General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks
January 2008

For background and additional information please refer to guidance and notes on the Directions.