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One IPO Transformation: first glimpse of the new patent application service

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Digital, Patents, Transformation, User research

It’s just over a year since we launched our One IPO Transformation programme - a ground-breaking five-year project, in planned stages, that will see the biggest modernisation of our intellectual property rights services ever experienced by the IPO and its customers.

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Emma Ford, One IPO Transformation Project Lead, explains what you, our customers, can expect from our new patent application service...including  a first glimpse of what it will look like.

Emma Ford, Lead Product Manager at the Intellectual Property Office
Emma Ford, Lead Product Manager at the Intellectual Property Office

There are two fundamental questions people ask us about intellectual property (IP). ‘What is IP?’ and ‘how do I get it?’.

My team and I are developing a new, easier application service across all rights to help people answer those questions and support the thousands of businesses who apply for IP every year.

So, what can you expect from your new application service?

We’re passionate about helping people truly understand and access IP, while providing lots of great improvements for seasoned IP veterans too. We’re excited to share more information and a first glimpse of what we’ve been working on. Here’s what you can expect:

  • A consistent, great quality experience across all IP rights
  • A more flexible application service that will make it easier to achieve what you need to, rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach. For example, it will allow you to skip the parts of the application that don’t apply to you, giving you a more efficient experience.
  • A smarter application service built on more powerful technology. It will provide new features to improve your experience and reduce errors and inefficiency. It will achieve this by checking the application and stopping errors before they are filed
  • A quicker and easier application service that will reuse information from your customer account and business data from elsewhere (eg Companies House)
  • Improved guidance and automatic notifications.

We’re also thinking about how we can build on the work we have completed on the AI-powered Trade Mark Pre-apply tool and see where we can use Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the future to improve the service.

Where are we now?

We’ve started designing and testing early editions of the new application service. Below is a video demonstration. It focuses on patents, because that's launching first, but if you’re also interested in trade marks or designs you’ll still get a feel for what we’re aiming for. We’re still changing and improving the designs, so there’s plenty of time for you to give us feedback. The features that make it into the final design will change as we learn more.

Are there any other benefits?

We’re also making a huge upgrade to our internal systems. It will allow our staff to process applications more efficiently. We recently shared the news that we have cleared our examination backlogs. New internal systems will reduce the chances of big backlogs building up again in future.

Screenshot from the demonstration of an early design of the Secure IP system

 What's next?

Over the next few months we’ll be refining and improving this design and working on our new internal systems at the same time. We’ll start building this new service on our new tech in July.

What do you think?

We want to build our new service in collaboration with customers, so we’re keen to hear what you think.

Feel free to drop something in the comments section, or please email us at

Would you like to get involved as we test and improve our services?

Can you spare an hour of your time to become a user tester, helping us to test and improve our new systems as we’re building? Let us know by emailing us at

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  1. Comment by Anonym posted on

    What about submitting a response to examination report and/or other kind of requests (e.g. change of applicant). Will these be available through UKIPO´s new digital services at the same time?

    • Replies to Anonym>

      Comment by imogenpercival posted on

      Thank you for your comment.
      You will be able to record a change of applicant and transfer IP ownership through your customer account. You will be also be able to reply to examination reports as part of the new service. Please do send us your feedback on the service demo to

  2. Comment by RICHARD GALLAFENT posted on

    If you need parties for the third type of application, why not for the other two? And the same goes for title

    • Replies to RICHARD GALLAFENT>

      Comment by imogenpercival posted on

      Thank you for your feedback.
      A user will have the option of adding application parties when selecting either of the first two service options, but legally, we couldn’t make it mandatory.
      Under current legislation, the minimal requirements to obtain a filing date is a description and (if relevant) drawings, or reference application. For filing date and search it is the description, drawings (where relevant) and claims.
      We have proposed making the application parties mandatory for option three (the full service) to ensure the user supplies a complete application at the time of filing, although this may still require some legislative changes.
      As part of our transformation programme, we are reviewing the legislation IPO is governed by, with a view to consulting on proposed legislative changes in the future.