Patenting Your Invention

how to secure patent protection for your inventionObtaining patent protection for your invention can sound a bit daunting.  Below is a brief outline guide of what can be patented, what is involved, how much it might cost and how long it takes.

If you would like to talk to somebody about any aspects of the patenting process do please contact us to discuss the options.

What is a patent?

A patent is an exclusive right that is granted by a country’s patent office to work an invention in that country for a period of up to 20 years.

A UK patent can be obtained by filing an application directly at the UK patent office or by filing a European patent application.

What can be patented?

In the UK and Europe, an invention (either product or process) that is technical in nature can be patented.

Discoveries, scientific theories and mathematic methods are not considered to be inventions per se, but a practical application of these may be patentable.

Presented information, aesthetic creations, methods for performing mental acts, playing games or doing business, and computer programs, are also not considered to be inventions per se, but they may still have technical elements to them that may be patented.

Can I patent my product/process?

Products/processes can be patented if they are new and inventive.

To be new a product/process cannot have been publically described prior to the filing date of the patent application either by you or by anyone else.

To be inventive the product/process must have new features that would not have been obvious to use to someone in the relevant technical field of the invention.

Take a look at our lighthearted guide to whether or not your idea might be patentable – Can I get a patent?

How do I get patent rights?

Talk to us about your invention. We can advise on patentability, prepare and file a patent application, and prosecute the patent application through to grant.

Alternatively you may acquire or exclusively licence someone else’s patent. We can assist with due diligence in connection with this.

What is involved in the patent application process?

We can write a patent application and send it to you for approval. Once approved, the application can initially be filed at the UK patent office. On request, the UK patent office will search databases for existing documents that describe your invention. Then, on request, the UK patent office will examine your application to see if it meets the requirements for patentability. If the requirements are met, a patent will be granted for your invention.

How long does it take?

It typically takes around 3-4 years to obtain a direct UK patent.

What does it cost?

It depends on the complexity of the invention and the nature of any objections that may be raised by the patent office. It typically costs £4000-£6000 + VAT to obtain a UK patent. Annual renewal fees of a few hundred pounds each are then payable after grant.

Click here to download a pdf version of our ‘Patenting Your Invention’ information sheet.