The changes affect the UK’s fast track system and will allow applicants to make changes to an international application while still being able to request accelerated processing in the UK.

The IPO says this will remove a bureaucratic hurdle and increase the flexibility of the patent application process.

The changes are part of a wider effort by the UK and US intellectual property authorities to get more businesses to use the Patent Co-operation Treaty (PCT).

This is designed to enable businesses to save both time and money while seeking global protection for their patents.

The IPO says it helps to reduce the current backlog of patent applications, estimated to be costing the global economy more than £7billlion a year. However, fewer than 1
0% of the two million applications for worldwide patent protection currently use the PCT system.

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