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Opinions

If you are involved in a dispute with someone else about infringement of a patent or the validity of a patent and want to try to resolve this without getting involved in full legal proceedings you might want to consider asking us for an opinion. An opinion relating to validity can consider only issues of novelty or inventive step.

An opinion can help you negotiate a settlement or decide whether to proceed with full legal proceedings. An opinion is not binding on you or others involved. You can still proceed with full legal proceedings in the court or with us if you want to.

Our opinion is an independent assessment of the main issues in a dispute, prepared by one of our senior examiners. We base opinions on papers you and anyone else involved send us. We cannot treat these papers as confidential.

We publish opinion requests and completed opinions so that you can view them. You can make observations on requested opinions. Any material filed in relation to a request for an opinion will also be open to public inspection including on our website.

2009 Review of the Opinions Service

During 2009 we launched a survey to gain feedback on the Opinions service. The survey was launched online on 18 September 2009 and ran until 31 December 2009. Paper copies of the survey were also sent to known users of the service.

We are grateful to the 98 customers that responded. The feedback we have received has provided valuable insight into what our customers think of the role of the Opinions service

Patent Opinions - update

On 12 June 2012, Baroness Wilcox, the Minister for Intellectual Property, launched a Government consultation PDF document(934Kb), which sought views on the proposals to expand the Intellectual Property Office's Patents Opinions Service. The Government response PDF document(180Kb) to the consultation and final impact assessment PDF document(147Kb).was published on 30 April 2013.

Request an opinion

Anyone can request an opinion about the infringement or validity of a patent covering the United Kingdom (UK).

An opinion costs GBP £200 and takes no more than 3 months.

What happens next?

If we proceed with your request, we will send copies of all the documents we receive to other interested parties such as the patent holder (patent owner and any exclusive licensee), and advertise the request on this website.

We will tell you about any observations, so that you can make observations in reply.

You can withdraw a request at any time.

We will send a copy of the final opinion to everyone involved. If you disagree with our opinion, you can ask us to review it.