By Marcus Leach

UK business could save nearly £100,000 per year thanks to a free patent system launched by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

The new online service, called Ipsum, will remove the cost to businesses of requesting patent documents; instead they will now be available for free at the click of a button.

The service is open to anyone, benefiting businesses researching patents, patent attorneys working for clients protecting their IP rights and potential inventors looking for the best way to find information on patent applications. This can help them understand why a patent was granted or rejected or know more about particular patents.

Previously each document requested by a business would cost £5 and by the time it had been delivered it might already be out of date. Ipsum is updated in real time so businesses will now have the up to date information on patent applications they need.

“Ipsum is free so it removes unnecessary costs for businesses. The service will give businesses, universities and consumers instant access to the information they need so they can understand the progress of patent applications and save money," Minister for Intellectual Property Baroness Wilcox said.

“Patent examiners around the world will also benefit as they can now immediately understand why the UK Intellectual Property Office did, or did not, grant a patent. This could help reduce the global back log of applications benefiting UK business hoping to get their patents processed in another country.”

The service is available on the IPO website — www.ipo.gov.uk/p-ipsum.

The Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth highlighted that patent backlogs can have a negative effect on innovation and growth. The launch of Ipsum is another step towards implementing the commitments Government made in its response to the Review.

“This online access to patent files will certainly make it easier and quicker for our profession to get hold of up-to-date information. It will also make the patent system more transparent and understandable for business people and the general public," Tim Roberts, President of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys said.

The system was officially launched by Baroness Wilcox in a speech to the annual congress of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) in London today (Thursday).

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