By Claire West

Fast-tracking patent applications for green inventions has delivered real benefits to green businesses, Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Wilcox said today.

The Intellectual Property Office’s Green Channel service offers accelerated processing for patent applications where the invention has an environmental benefit.

Since it was launched in May last year, 329 patent applications have been, or are being, fast-tracked. On average, a patent is granted through the Green Channel in eight months compared with a 32 month average for standard applications.

British businesses have been the main beneficiaries with 86 per cent of requests for fast-tracking coming from UK firms.

Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Wilcox said:

“The demand for low carbon products is growing across the world. Putting the UK at the forefront of the green technology industry will deliver enormous benefits to this country.

“It will provide the UK with economic growth and new jobs as well as improving our environment.

“Fast-tracking green patents provides businesses with practical help in developing green technology and bringing it to the consumer as quickly as possible.”

The Green Channel service has attracted interest from other countries with the US, Australia and South Korea all introducing similar schemes.

One third of the applications received so far relate to energy saving. Green Channel applications have also been made for technologies ranging from harnessing natural sources of power, such as wind wave and solar energy, to recycling and transport.

Requests for fast-tracking can be refused if the invention does not have an environmental benefit but so far only two per cent of requests have been turned down.