UK inventors and others with patents to file can now deal with their applications electronically on the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) website under the epoline project.
Customers are now able to e-file a wider range of statutory forms and can amend or replace their patent specifications, abstracts, claims, translations of priority documents, sequence listings and other search reports, following the filing of their patent applications.
Epoline is a European Patent Office package of online services that allows users to create and apply online for patents and is now used by a variety of patent offices including the IPO, other national offices, the European Patent Office and World Intellectual Property Organisation.
"These new services increase greatly the extent to which patent applicants can do business with the UK Intellectual Property Office electronically. They will now have the opportunity to conduct most of the application process electronically, and enjoy the convenience that will offer," said Baroness Delyth Morgan, Minister for Intellectual Property.
According to the IPO, these enhancements to the patents electronic filing services now provide customers with much greater flexibility than the previous range of services, which generally required customers to file the statutory forms and associated documents at the time of making their patent application.
"The introduction of these enhanced electronic filing services for our customers concludes a successful two-year change programme," said Sean Dennehey, assistant comptroller and patents director of the IPO.
"In that time, we have introduced electronic case working to the Patents Directorate and a number of new customer services. Those have included web-based patent filing and a service allowing customers to request and receive copies of case files electronically."
"The latest additions are a major step forward in the provision of electronic customer services as they enable documents to be filed electronically throughout the patent application process."
The IPO has also announced that customer satisfaction levels have hit a five-year high, according to the results of its customer survey.
The study found that an average of 97.9 per cent of customers said they were satisfied with the overall performance of the IPO. Furthermore, 98 per cent reported being happy with the staff service levels, with clear advice and staff knowledge being considered the most important aspect of the service provided.