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Patents: Leaner, fitter and moving out

Patents: Leaner, fitter and moving out

作者:元缡逸  时间:2019-02-26 10:20:00  人气:

By BARRY FOX THE BRITISH Patent Office became an ‘executive agency’ this month. It is the fifth office within the Department of Trade and Industry to be given agency status in an effort to improve the quality of its service and make it more cost-effective. Nicholas Ridley, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, says the Patent Office will now have a ‘more commercial ethos’. The agency’s first step is to move out of London. Staff whose job it is to examine new patent applications and check them against existing literature complain of ‘insensitive handling’ of the relocation plans and warn of a ‘serious deterioriation’ in the service offered to patent applicants. The Patent Office currently occupies offices in State House, near Holborn in central London. Two years ago, Lord Young, the former Secretary of State, admitted that the British patents system was in ‘marked decline’ because work was being lost to the European Patent Office in Munich. Independently, the Prime Minister’s Efficiency Unit recommended that sections like the Patent Office should have greater independence. The department’s answer was to build a new Patent Office, 5 kilometres outside Newport in south Wales. The new building will not be ready until 1991, but already 53 patent examiners have been moved to temporary offices in Cardiff. Many others, especially those more than 50 years old, do not want to start a new life in Wales. Thirty have resigned and a further 60 are expected to follow. This, claims their union, the Institution of Professionals, Managers and Specialists, is leading to understaffing in key areas such as electronics and biotechnology. The examiners’ library of 4 million technical documents must be moved in stages, so the parts in transit will be inaccessible. The granting of patents will be delayed by an extra 18 months, claims the union. Not so,