Tuesday, 7 January 2014

UK Patent Office discontinues Patents Form 10 Reminder letter

The Patent Office, to give it its proper name, has announced in this statement  that it won't in future be sending out letters reminding patent applicants to file Form 10 and cross their palm with silver to request a substantive examination. For applicants with switched-on agents who have what Americans in general and patent lawyers everywhere call 'docketing systems', this won't matter, but for those who represent themselves it will be another matter. They will be told in the letter informing them of the A Publication that they have to file Form 10 and pay the fee within six months after that publication, as they already are: but the reminder which until now has been churned out two or three weeks before the end of that period will no longer be sent. The Office says it sends out about 3,000 of these letters per year, presumably many of them to agents who know perfectly well what is going on but who are either leaving it to the last minute or waiting for their client to get their act together.

3,000 letters is, these days, quite a lot, and producing a letter costs  much more than the cost of the paper and postage stamp, even in the computer age. So I can see the attraction of cutting out an unnecessary communication, though one might have thought that (again, in the computer age) some sort of automated reminder system for applicants in person could be devised - perhaps at a modest extra charge.

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