The UK Patent Office has published a number of changes to UK Patents Rules.

Changes coming into force from 1 October 2016:

1) Notification of Grant
The patent office will give applicants advanced notice of grant of their patent application by issuing a Notification of Intention to Grant communication.  This will provide applicants with greater legal certainty as to when the application will grant and they will have the period set out in the communication to file a divisional application.

2) Reinstatement
The period for requesting reinstatement of a UK patent application has been reviewed and will be simplified. The new period will simply be 12 months from termination of the application.

3) Formal Drawings
The requirements for technical drawings included in a patent application will be slightly relaxed. Drawings may now include shading and black and white photographs will be accepted.

Changes coming into force from 6 April 2017:

1) Omnibus Claims
It will no longer be possible to include omnibus claims in UK patent applications, except in very limited circumstances e.g. where the invention cannot be clearly defined by any means other than a reference to the description and/or drawings.  It will also no longer be possible to amend a granted patent to insert an omnibus claim.