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Houses of Parliament
Designers working in the British 3D printing industry have been offered added support from the Government, as it has been announced a new 'superfast' patent processing service is under consultation.
3D printing is an intellectual property battleground at present, but these plans to grant patents in just 90 days could change matters.
Intellectual Property Minister Lord Younger stated last week: "Inspiration and inventive thoughts can emerge at any time, but acting on them quickly can often be the catalyst for making a real difference to the success or otherwise of an idea.
"[The] Government is committed to making it easy for innovators to turn their ideas into business growth. I am sure this will help to create a streamlined and flexible patent service and bring more choice for those who use it."
On April 17th, the Government published a consultation on how the 'superfast' patent service will work, following on from Business Secretary Vince Cable's announcement in 2012 that such a scheme would be in place this year.
At present, it can take a number of years to gain full patent protection, but this length of time is usually satisfactory for most patent applications as it allows applicants time to make key commercial decisions and change their strategy accordingly.
Nevertheless, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) acknowledged that this timeframe may not suit everybody and has welcomed the consultation, which will run for eight weeks concluding on June 12th 2013.
The consultation will seek views on the principals on which a 'superfast' patent service could be based, the conditions that would apply in order to use the scheme, the details of how the service would work in practice and the associated fees, and the usefulness of existing patent acceleration facilities.
Indeed, the IPO already offers an acceleration service free of charge, allowing a patent to be granted in under a year.
This is quick by global standards, but the IPO says that sometimes there are circumstances where the applicant would find it useful to have the patent granted even more expediently.