Using the Green Channel for fast examination and grant of a UK patent

MyEnergi is a young and growing UK company designing and manufacturing renewable energy products for the home, such as the “zappi”, a multi-award winning eco-smart electric vehicle charger, and the “eddi”, a controller for solar power generation systems.

MyEnergi approached Dehns in January 2019 with a new invention for their next-generation “zappi v2” vehicle charger that makes the charger quicker and easier to install than the first generation product, while further guaranteeing its electrical safety. Dehns Partner, Tim Wilson, drafted and filed a patent application covering the new invention which, at Tim’s suggestion, was filed through the UK Intellectual Property Office’s “Green Channel”—a method of speeding up the patent process for green technology.

While Tim was handling the patent prosecution for the above application, MyEnergi was sufficiently impressed with his expertise that, in July 2019, they asked Tim to take over a pending European and UK patent application they had previously filed using a local patent attorney, as they were looking for a more experienced attorney to help get the patents granted in light of a negative European examination report.

Tim took over representation for the older patent family and saw that the European application was not in a good shape for addressing the serious objections from the Patent Examiner and so was very unlikely to be granted in its current form. The patent application unfortunately contained very few “fall-back” positions to draw upon. From this weak starting point, Tim used his legal expertise, and understanding of the technology area, to reformulate the patent claims and to argue against the European Patent Examiner’s objections. He also introduced additional patent claims to the corresponding UK patent application to strengthen it against any future challenges. The UK patent has now granted and the European patent application is awaiting further consideration.

Meanwhile, the new UK patent application, drafted and filed by Dehns, received some initial “inventive step” objections based on newly-identified prior art.  Tim analysed the cited documents and proposed some changes to the claims that would better distinguish the invention from the prior art, while still covering the innovative features that were being incorporated into myEnergi’s new product. After discussing and agreeing the changes with MyEnergi, Tim filed a response, which fully satisfied the UK Examiner’s concerns, resulting in myEnergi’s second UK patent granting in October 2020.  A corresponding international “PCT” patent application has also been filed to help secure myEnergi’s rights to the invention worldwide.

The use of the Green Channel has resulted in particularly fast examination and grant of a second UK patent for myEnergi.  With two UK patents now granted, and with European and international patent applications pending, the client is delighted; for a young company to obtain granted UK patents so early in its lifecycle to protect its products in a highly competitive market, this is a really important step which will help to secure the future of the business. This UK patent protection will stop competitors from making or selling products exploiting myEnergi’s innovations, and effectively provides the client with a monopoly on these ideas in their home market.

The client is understandably very happy with Tim’s work and efforts so far, and, on hearing that the first UK patent had been granted, emailed in response to say simply: “That’s brilliant”.