Intellectual property specialists have reacted with relief to the government’s decision not to proceed with a premium service that would award patents in three months.

Plans for a ‘superfast’ track were announced by the business secretary, Vince Cable, last year. In return for a £4,000 fee, inventors would have their claims processed in 90 days rather than the current average of 4.5 years from application to grant.

However a consultation by the Intellectual Property Office revealed little interest in the scheme and widespread concern about the quality of patents that would be produced. A response to the consultation published last week said that the government has decided not to implement the superfast service.

Johanna Gibson (pictured), professor of intellectual property law at Queen Mary University, London, described the superfast proposal as a ‘bad idea’.

She said the service would have few advantages over an existing free accelerated service that can lead to grant in about 200 days. However, the main concern was that there was a risk that patents pushed through very quickly were more likely to be invalid, she said.

Gwilym Roberts of patent and trade mark attorneys Kilburn & Strode, a council member of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys, welcomed the ‘courageous’ decision to drop the proposal.

‘The politicians seem to have launched the idea without really understanding the legal ramifications, and to drop it after consultation shows that the interests of the user and the public are being put above potential embarrassment to the politicians.’