Not to be confused with the proposed new Patents Rules 2007 (mentioned here), some amendments to the current Patents Rules 1995 are to come into effect as of 1 April 2007, courtesy of The Patents (Amendments) Rules 2007.
In brief, the changes are:
These combine the UK requirements under the new PCT regulations coming into effect on the same day, with preparations for an electronic public file inspection facility at the UK Patent Office to eventually bring it into line with that available at the EPO.
This Kat is reliably informed that the ability to make late declarations relating to PCT applications entering the UK national phase after 1 April will allow pending PCT applications which unintentionally missed the 12 month convention deadline (but included a claim to priority) to recover their priority, at least in the UK. This is, unfortunately, too late to help poor Abaco (see recent post here), but may help others.
As readers may note from some of the above links, the changes have already been provisionally included on the ukpatents wiki, ready to be fully included when April comes around.