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Requests for electronic uncertified copies of documents from the patent files to be viewed, downloaded or printed online


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 of documents 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 14 April 2011.


4. In these Directions:

"application" means an application under the Act;

"document" means a document which is available through the web interface

"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 requesting uncertified copies of documents from the patent file to be viewed, downloaded or printed online.

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 be made via the web interface.

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 An electronic request may not be made in relation to an unpublished application.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 PDF form online.

Online filing of an electronic request

12. An electronic request can be sent online via the web interface at any time, except on a Sunday between 20:00 and 22:00 UK time.

John Alty
Comptroller-General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks
8 April 2011