Welsh patent applications: the results are in!

A couple of days ago the IPKat asked his readers how many patent applications they thought might have been filed in Welsh at the UK-IPO since this possibility was made available by the new Patents Rule 2007, offering a prize of a bunch of daffodils to the first one to get the right answer. 

(right: Tufty's bodyguard Pod guards the limited supply of daffodils at Tufty's country residence)

The IPKat received a huge range of guesstimates, ranging all the way up to a rather optimistic 4,587. One anonymous commenter even tried to work out how many might have been filed by searching on espacenet (a futile exercise, of course, since very few applications since December 2007 will have been published by now anyway). Most people, however, seemed to think that the number would be very low. 

The IPKat can now exclusively reveal that the very first commenter got the answer spot on. Commiserations go to Guy Veysey, Louisa McDonnell and John Collins, who came in just too late.  Exactly zero applications have been filed at the UK-IPO in Welsh over the past 13 months. Well done to whoever anonymous person made that comment.  A large bunch of daffodils is waiting at Tufty's country pad for you to come and collect in a few weeks, once they have had a chance to grow.  

On a more serious note, the IPKat wonders what the point was in putting the effort in to change the law in the UK to provide the option of filing and prosecuting applications in Welsh, and provide a facility at the IPO to deal with them, when it was clearly an option that nobody was asking for, and nobody has in fact seen the need to use.  And in case anybody pipes up about the Welsh Language Act or similar, the IPKat would like to first be pointed to the exact legal requirement that made the change necessary. 

Merpel wonders whether all this fuss the IPKat is making will perhaps prompt some Welsh-fluent patent attorney to file one just to spoil the record.

Tufty says he just wants to keep hold of his daffodils for now.
Welsh patent applications: the results are in! Welsh patent applications: the results are in! Reviewed by David Pearce on Wednesday, January 28, 2009 Rating: 5


  1. It might still be interesting to see if filing a request for examination or notice of appeal in Welsh at the EPO results in the 20% reduction in the examination or appeal fee according to Rule 6(3) EPC and Art. 14(1) of the EPC Fee Regulations. These are short statements for which standardised texts would be relatively simple to devise (the EPO provides on the reverse side of the Request for Grant Form 1001 suggested texts for the Request for Examination in exotic official languages of EPC states ranging from Bulgarian to Irish-Gaelic).

    If this is possible, it would also be interesting to see if it would apply to British applicants in general or only to Welsh applicants (Swiss companies regularly file the request for examination in Italian, since this is an official language in CH and is not an EPO language and so qualifies for the reduction, even if they are located in German or French speaking parts of CH).

    Currently, the EPO indicates in the brochure "National Law relating to the EPC" that Welsh is not an official language of the UK and so would not qualify for a fee reduction (this is based on information received from the UK Office), however, this Brochure was last published in 2006, which is before the UKPTO started accepting applications in Welsh. It would be difficult to argue that in patent matters at least Welsh does not qualify as an official language in the UK, if the UK office accepts filing and prosecution in this language.

    In case anyone is thinking of trying this, I suggest paying the full fee first and then asking for the 20% to be reimbursed and see what happens, since if it is decided that the reduction of a fee is not due and only the 80% reduced fee is paid, then retroactively, the party in question would not have paid the fee on time with all the consequences which that might entail.

    Pob lwc (good luck)

  2. Probably about time you checked the fire insurance on Tufty's holiday home in Pembrokeshire...

    And if you think this is bad, wait until the application is made for Welsh to be an official language of the EU - it's only a matter of time.

  3. This is a super photo of Tufty. It shows the sheer strength of his character and the real meaning of the word 'withering'. Why didn't he suggest that we vote for this photo??

  4. Maybe the first Anonymous' suggestion will fail because Welsh is not an official language of the UK, but only a language that may be used in Wales in certain circumstances mentioned in the Welsh Language Act 1993 (see Part III of http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1993/ukpga_19930038_en_3).

    As it is the UK, not Wales, that is an EPC Contracting State, I am afraid that the EPO will not see a legal basis for a language-based refund in case Welsh in used.

  5. In response to the last but one anonymouse, the photo is actually of Pod, Tufty's close friend (and sometimes enemy).

  6. Brilliant. Can we change the law again to allow filing in Gaelic?

  7. You can file in what ever language you want, it's just that you then have to file a translation into English (or Welsh...)


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