A patent is a legal right.
Approved by the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO), for a new invention.
As the patent owner (the patentee), you have the right to take legal action against anyone who uses your invention without your permission.
We’ll help you protect your invention by applying to the UKIPO on your behalf, who make the final decision as to whether your brainchild is patentable.
Do you need a patent to use your invention?
No, you don’t, providing no one else has earlier patent rights to it.
The problem is, if you don’t have a patent, it can be an uphill struggle to stop someone else copying your invention.
It’s also worth knowing that, regardless of whether you have a patent or not, you don’t have an automatic right to use your invention because someone else may own rights which prevent or restrict your use.
Who owns the patent?
Just like design rights, the creator (inventor) owns the patent unless they have given the rights to someone else. However, if you create it in your capacity as an employee at work, the rights belong to your employer.
What can I patent?
Usually, it’s a gadget, product, or a manufacturing process, but for your invention to be patented, it must be:
- New (i.e. it can’t have been published by anyone else before you)
- An inventive step (not just a visible development of something that already exists)
- Able to be made or used in any industry, including agriculture
How do I apply for a patent?
It is possible to apply for a patent yourself, or we can do it for you.
After completing your application, it’s sent to the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO).
It will be declined if any evidence exists (including talks and published documents) that predates your application. That’s why it’s vital you get your patent application filed as soon as possible.
After filing, you have twelve months to develop your idea and measure its commercial possibilities before you have to do anything more.
What happens next?
Getting a patent is a lengthy process (about four years to be precise), so we’ll give you a summary of what to expect.
During the twelve-month period we mentioned above, you must file:
- Claims outlining the protection you are seeking
- A summary of the invention
- A request for a search along with a fee
At that point, the UKIPO searches for inventions similar to yours and issues a search report listing what they found in reference books, scientific journals or other patents.
If the UKIPO tells you your invention isn’t new, you can appeal their decision.
However, if it agrees, your invention is new and inventive, your patent will be granted and published in the UKIPO’s Official Journal. You’ll also get a certificate.
As you might expect, if you want to maintain your patent, you have to pay annual renewal fees.
How can I enforce my patent?
The sheer fact you own a patent is usually enough to deter anyone from using your invention illegally.
However, if someone does use it without your permission, you can get an injunction and claim damages through the High Court, Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC) or UKIPO.
How do I know which countries are covered by my patent?
That one’s simple to answer: a patent granted by the UKIPO only covers the UK.
To get protection in other countries, you have to file further applications.
Although there is no such thing as a “world patent”, you can make applications for patent protection in several countries at once through the European Patent Convention (EPC) or the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).
Of course, it’s not quite that simple because not all countries belong to the EPC or PCT, so for those, you will have to file separate applications.
Applying for a patent can be a complicated business. Don’t leave you invention vulnerable; contact us today and let us take care of all aspect of your patent.
Make an Enquiry
To make a no obligation enquiry, please either call us on 01284 619000 or make an online enquiry and we will be delighted to help you.