April 22, 2020
Putting Green Patents in the Fast Lane
Putting Green Patents in the Fast Lane

Patents are one of many Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) that allow owners to protect their ideas within the marketplace.  The main role of patents is to protect the invention itself, rather than the branding that goes with it.

To get your patent registered, and therefore protected, you need to work your way through the patent application process at the relevant Intellectual Property Office (IPO).  So, what are the IPOs doing to help?  They are reducing the application time of “green” patents, meaning that green applications will get registered before others and therefore are able to go into the market place quicker, with full protection.

Why is this important?  Patent protection means that the owner of the invention can defend their IPRs against potential infringers, manage their product safely, and licence their product to third parties for further distribution.  Meaning that the benefit of the invention can be shared more widely and still be fiercely protected.  The idea of fast-tracking green patent applications isn’t new, this idea has already been adopted by several countries, including the UK which was one of the first countries to implement such a scheme.

What is the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) doing?

On 12 May 2009, the UKIPO introduced the “Green Channel”.  The Green Channel allows applications to be fast tracked if the invention has an environmental benefit, all the owner needs to do is submit a written statement to the UKIPO stating the benefit.  If the owner of the invention is unable to explain the environmental benefit or it is clear to the UKIPO that there is no environmental benefit, the application is not eligible for the Green Channel.

Patent applications that have already taken advantage of the Green Channel are solar energy systems (GB2537744), a subsea energy generation assembly utilising wave energy (GB2575336), a wave powered fluid pump (GB2563108) and a wave energy converter (GB2540615), just to name a few.

The UKIPO is also part of the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) programme.  This means that if you have already applied to register your patent in another jurisdiction, and that application is in the examination stage, the examination of your UK patent application could be significantly accelerated.  The UKIPO can do this as the PPH programme has a procedure in place which allows IPOs access to examination work already undertaken by other members of the PPH programme, therefore reducing examination time.

As well as this, the UKIPO is part of the Global Patent Prosecution Highway (GPPH) which started in January 2014.  This is similar to the PPH in the sense that the scheme allows members of the GPPH to share information in order for patent applications to accelerate through to registration.

As you can see, the IP World has already taken steps to help inventors protect and utilise their green inventions.  IP is at the heart of everything in our day to day lives, so it is only fitting that IP helps with the fight against climate change.

If you want to know more about Green patents and how we can help, please contact us on Info@iamstobbs.com.
Patents /  IP basics

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