Patents protect inventions. The range of subject matter which can be protected by a Patent is broad and includes products, processes, materials and even computer implemented inventions.
A Patent is an exclusive right that gives the Patent holder the power to stop or prevent anyone from making, using or importing an invention encompassed by that Patent without their permission in the relevant jurisdiction in which the Patent is in force.
Generally, the criteria for “Patentability” is that an invention must be new; it must involve an "inventive step"; it must have induatrial application (industry here includes agriculture), and it must not comprise of subject matter that is excluded.
It is important to ensure that the invention must not have been publicly disclosed prior to filing an application for a patent, as this could destroy novelty. Novelty in this instance must not be interpreted to mean the 'invention' is entirely new and groundbreaking. Instead improvements (even minor ones) of existing technology can be patented, especially if that improvement improves performance or leads to a longer life in the technology.
To apply for or a Patent, a Patent application must be filed. This involves drafting a Patent Specification that is subsequently lodged with the relevant Patent Office. This Specification will include a detailed written description of the invention, including claims , an abstract and drawings illustrating all the essential and novel aspects of the invention, and any variations. This description must be self-standing or "sufficient" to enable a skilled person who is familiar with the specific field of technology of the invention to replicate the invention or perform its method, without referring too much to other sources of information, other than the specification itself. This means that it is important when making patent applications for the specification to be drafted properly.
Patent drafting is a specialised skill that is perfected with knowledge and experience over many years in practice and it has been known for even experienced practitioners to sometimes get it wrong. For this reason, it is never recommended for any individual without substantial drafting experience to attempt to do it alone without seeking professional advice from a Patent Agent/ Patent Attorney.
We advise on the patentability of subject matter relating to, but not limited to Electronics, Physics, Computer Implemented inventions, Mechanical devices, Medical devices and other fields. Below are some of our services.
Our Patent Attorneys can handle UK Patent Applications filed at the UK Intellectual Property Office, the European Patent Office or using the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) route. Furthermore, through a network of foreign associates we can also file and process Patent applications to protect your inventions in the US, Australia, Japan, China, Canada, Brazil, South Africa, Russia and in other countries around the world.
To ask a question please call us on 0161 820 2891 or use our customer enquiry form and we will aim to get back to you within 24 hours.
Self drafting / filing ? While some technical inventors may be able to clearly describe their inventions, drafting Patents require a certain level of skill. Thus, it is not advisable to draft / file a Patent application without seeking professional advice because it is more likely than not that you will get it wrong, and sometimes a badly drafted Patent can be impossible to fix, which can lead to loss of rights. Further, fixing it later in the process will be costly, and whatever matter that you ultimately salvage from the application may not necessarily have the same scope / be sufficient protection to cover your idea's original inventive concept, had you sought professional advice earlier on in the process. We encounter many inventors who have attempted to self file themselves only to run into major difficulties - which are not only extremely difficult to rectify but also expensive to do so later down the process because a patent attorney then has to sift through pages of the filed specification, examining each sentence and referencing with examination / search reports, to try to form some sort of response that does not add matter, an exercise that is quite difficult to achieve in practice.
Is your idea really new? It would probably be worthwhile to invest in a Patent clearance search before developing your concept or ideas any further as this could save you both time and money.
Is your invention worth protecting with a patent? Have you considered other forms of protection? What about the costs involved in developing your technology? Have you explored the possibility of licensing the technology once a patent is on file?
Do you require protection beyond the UK? A granted UK patent will only give you protection in the UK. If you require protection outside the UK you should probably consider patent protection in other jurisdictions.
You can contact us with any questions regarding how to apply for a patent, the procedure to grant, self filed patent applications, Patent licensing, technology transfer, applying for patents outside the UK and what to know before you approach the patent office.