IPO changes wording of Patent Rules

Out-Law News | 29 Aug 2011 | 12:52 pm | 1 min. read

The IPO has made changes to the wording of the UK's Patent Rules as it said the previous copy could have been wrongly interpreted.

The Patents Rules are the procedural and administrative guidelines to the working of the Patent Office. The Office is partially responsible for deciding whether inventors' applications for UK patent protection should be granted.

Changes to the rules were made in 2007, but the IPO said that previous wording connected with the processes for applying for and maintaining patent rights and resolving patent disputes was ambiguous. The Rules previously contained wording that could be interpreted to mean periods lasted a day shorter than intended, the IPO said. Changes were needed to make sure that there is "no doubt" as to the meaning of the words, it said.

"The purpose of the legislative correction is to alter the wording used to prescribe periods so that there is no doubt that they all clearly follow the exclusive rule," the IPO said in a statement.

"This restores their effect to that which existed prior to their modernisation, and accords with the practice and expectations of the Office and its users," it said.

Original changes were made to "bring consistency to the wording" of the Rules but "not to change the method of calculation of the various prescribed periods", the IPO said. This was confirmed in guidance published at the time and accepted by the Patent Office and its users, it said.

The amended rules will come into force on 1 October, the IPO said.