UK Firms Face Longer Patent Wait Times than Global Rivals
date: 2023-04-03

    Innovative companies in the UK may have to wait significantly longer than other major nations to secure patents for new technology, a study has shown.


    Analysis from consultancy firm Catax found that patent applications, which are required to protect the intellectual property of new technologies, come with a more than 18-month wait for a response in the UK.


    The study found that applicants in the UK typically waited 570 days before any action was taken by the patent office.


    This placed the UK at 50th in the study of 64 countries. The UK was ranked 12th globally for the number of patents filed in 2021 (18,855 patents) and, with the exception of Brazil, had the longest waiting time in the top 12.


    This means the UK is being beaten in waiting times by the likes of China, the US, Japan, Korea, India, and Australia, all of which had more patents filed in the year in question.


    “The UK is rightly proud of its innovation heritage, but it is important that the systems dedicated to protecting intellectual property are world-leading too,” said Nigel Holmes, director of tax at Catax.


    “Patent law is complex and the process can be very involved, but UK performance is poor when compared to countries that deal with a greater number of applications. Speeding up this process will prove the UK is walking the talk on delivering innovation-led growth.”


    Companies in the UK that profit from patented inventions can benefit from tax relief due to the Patent Box programme.


    Holmes added: “Not enough companies are making patents and the Patent Box an essential part of their innovation strategy.”


    The figures may be a concerning roadblock for the government to achieve its goal of transforming the UK into a global science and tech superpower.



    Source: Hornstein