It can take a number of years to gain patent protection through the service currently offered by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).
The Government has recently announced plans for a new ‘superfast’ patent service which will be capable of granting patents in just 90 days. The IPO propose to offer this service in addition to the current process as it recognises that there are particular circumstances where an applicant would find it useful to obtain a patent grant more quickly than usual. Further details will be released once the current consultation on the matter has been concluded.
In particular, if the proposals are implemented, this service may prove useful to companies which are revisiting their IP protection and exploitation strategies in light of the new Patent Box tax break which was introduced from 1 April 2013.
Update: The government has now decided not to pursue implementation of a ‘superfast’ patent service, citing a lack of interest in the service and the risk of patents being granted on unsuitable inventions.