The Patents Rules 2007 and associated legislative changes
Three new Statutory Instruments concerning patents and supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) came into force on Monday 17 December 2007. These are:
- the Patents Rules 2007 (SI 2007/3291)
- the Patents (Fees) Rules 2007 (SI 2007/3292)
- the Patents (Compulsory Licensing and Supplementary Protection Certificates) Regulations 2007 (SI 2007/3293).
The new Patents Rules are a completely modernised set of rules which govern procedures concerning patents and SPCs. In particular, they:
- reform provisions on patent litigation at the Office - introducing flexible and user-friendly procedures, and clearer case-management powers (see Tribunal Practice Notice 6/2007)
- better reflect current working practices such as electronic filing of patent applications
- include simplified and updated administrative requirements
- abolish Forms 11, 53 and 58 (with associated fees)
- introduce newly-clarified provisions on SPCs, bringing consistent provisions on patents and SPCs together for the first time
- implement detailed provisions concerning recent EC Regulations on the extension of SPCs for paediatric medicines and on patent compulsory licences for certain pharmaceutical products.
User should also note that, under the new Rules, the Office is no longer able to treat post as having been received earlier than it actually was. The previous "postal deeming" arrangement does not apply to any document posted to the Office in connection with a patent or patent application, where that document was posted on or after 17 December.
The new Patents (Fees) Rules reflect the restructured Patents Rules, including the abolition of certain Patents Forms and the inclusion in the Patents Rules of SPC matters.
The Patents Regulations make related changes to the Patents Act 1977 in respect of SPCs and patent compulsory licences. In particular, the Regulations amend the Act so that it is clear which provisions of the Act apply to SPCs, and what modifications, if any, are necessary.
The Regulations also provide a basis in the Act for the new rules which implement the recent EC Regulations on the extension of SPCs for paediatric medicines and on patent compulsory licences.
All three Instruments and their accompanying explanatory material are available from the OPSI website .
Also, a complete concordance (144Kb) has been produced between old and new Patents Rules. This sets out the relationship between old and new provisions and explains in detail the changes that have been made.