Fast-track your patent application with a quick(er) trip through the Green Channel

With a UK patent application typically taking 4 – 5 years to reach grant, the patent process can seem like a very slow beast indeed.

If your invention has green credentials there is an option that may allow you to speed the process along a little.

UK IPO Green Channel

Use the UK IPO Green Channel for faster processing of your patent application

If your invention has some environmental benefit, applicants can make a written submission to the IPO requesting accelerated processing of their application.

The Green Channel option is not only available to the more obvious green inventions, such as solar panels or wind turbines – any invention that can reasonably be claimed to have an environmental benefit may be eligible.

What does it cost?

Nothing! There is no fee for using the Green Channel.

How do I it do it?

Requests must be made in writing by the applicant with details of:

  1. How their application is environmentally-friendly.
  2. Which actions they wish to accelerate:-search, examination, combined search and examination, and/or publication.

If you think your invention might qualify and would like advice on how to write the application letter please contact us at sandco@sandersons.co.uk.

For more information go to https://www.gov.uk/patents-accelerated-processing.

Protecting your Intellectual Property when trading overseas

Protect your IP when you trade overseasWhen you are considering trading internationally you need to make sure that you are protected against your invention being copied or your name, logo or brand being used inappropriately.

Protecting your intellectual property through the use of patents, trade marks and registered design rights defends you against other companies or individuals who may try to copy your goods or pass themselves off as your company.

Do your homework

It is important when looking to move into foreign markets to ensure that you will not be inadvertently infringing the existing rights of other companies within those markets. It is essential to do your research with robust intellectual property searches before embarking on costly and time consuming sales and marketing programmes.

Do I have rights in other countries?

Intellectual property rights are generally territorial. A granted patent or trade mark / design registration in the UK does not give you automatic rights for protection in another country.  You must have applied for and been granted a patent, trade mark or design registration in a particular country in order to have those rights in that country.

Protection within the EU

Having a UK patent, trade mark or registered design does not give you automatic protection within other EU countries. You can file individual applications in each country you would like to seek protection.  Alternatively, you can apply for a European patent or European Community trade mark or design registration.

A European patent application is a single application which if successful will result in a single European patent. To have effect, the granted European patent must then be validated in each European country where protection is required.  This incurs separate fees for each country.

A European Community trade mark or design registration covers all 29 countries of the EU.

Protecting your inventions outside the EU:

Separate patent applications can be filed in each country where you would like to seek protection. Alternatively you can file an International patent application.

There is no such thing as an International patent – only an International application. At a particular point in the process an International application must be converted into separate national applications in the countries of interest and the cost at this stage is comparable to filing separate national patent applications.  Each separate national application then proceeds in the same way as a standard national application.

An International application is ultimately more expensive than filing separate national applications but it gives you more time to decide on the particular countries where you wish to seek protection and also delays expenditure.

Protecting your trade marks outside the EU:

There is no such thing as a single worldwide trade mark registration.  There is an International trade mark application procedure known as the Madrid Protocol which allows a single application to cover a large number of different countries.

Under the Madrid Protocol there must be a ‘home’ trade mark registration or application, for example in the UK or the EU.  As such, you must first file a UK or EU application before you can use the Madrid Protocol system to cover other states.

Protecting your designs outside the EU:

Most countries require separate individual design applications to be filed in that country in order to obtain protection. There is no such thing as a single worldwide or ‘global’ design registration.  There is an International design application procedure known as the Hague Agreement but at present this covers only a limited number of countries.

Do I have to apply straight away in every country?

From the filing date of a first patent application, there begins a 12-month priority period within which further patent applications may be filed in other countries.  These further patent applications may then take the priority of the initial filing date which means that they will be considered as having been filed on the same date as the first application.

Following the filing of a first trade mark or design application there is a 6-month priority period within which design/trade mark applications (for the same design/trade mark) may be filed in other countries.  Those applications can then claim the initial “priority” date of the first application.

The priority period enables you to spread the costs and also allows you to assess the commercial viability of your product before deciding where you wish to seek protection.

Take some advice

Obtaining the most appropriate IP rights for you can be complicated. While much information and application forms are available through the UK Intellectual Property Office and the European registry (OHIM), a qualified patent or trade mark attorney will be able help you to develop an effective strategy for your IP protection and guide you through the process.

Sanderson & Co offer a free half hour consultation at our office in Colchester or London if you would like to discuss your options for international IP protection.

Caroline Ward

Caroline Ward

Contact us to discuss your options.

Caroline Ward
Sanderson & Co
tel: 01206 571187
sandco@sandersons.co.uk
www.sandersons.co.uk

How does IP help small companies grow?

Some companies think that investing in Intellectual Property isn’t right for them…. it’s something that the big boys do…  Wrong!  IP isn’t just for large companies with deep pockets.  UK SME’s file over 10x as many patents and trade mark applications as big companies.   The time and money that you have invested in your innovation and business should be protected by IP rights.

  • IP encourages investment in your company
  • IP protects against unsafe and counterfeit goods
  • Inventions that are protected by patents are valuable business assets
  • Registering your trade mark allows you to safely extend its business use
  • IP protects and supports innovation
  • Innovation promotes business growth
  • Profits from patented inventions attract reduced UK corporation tax through the Patent Box so you get to keep more of your profits to re-invest in business growth

Below is a short film from Ideas Matter – www.ideasmatter.com

IP By Numbers: Video from Ideas Matter on Vimeo

Contact Sanderson & Co to talk about how you can make the best use of IP rights.

What does the Intellectual Property Act 2014 mean for you?

The importance of IP registrationThe Intellectual Property Act 2014 (the Act) will start to come into force on 1st October 2014. The Act seeks to modernise and simplify Intellectual Property law and introduces a number of changes, particularly to UK design law and practice largely as a result of the 2011 Hargreaves Independent Review of IP & Growth.

We have outlined some of the key facts below:

Intentional copying is now a criminal offence

One of the main changes relating to design law is that intentional copying of a UK or European Community registered design will now be a criminal offence. The “infringer” must be aware or have reasonable grounds to suppose that the design in question is registered and so there is an increased importance to indicate the existence of IP rights on products. The maximum penalty for infringement will be 10 years imprisonment or a fine.

The designer owns the rights for commissioned works unless by prior written agreement

Another important change which seeks to bring UK design law into harmony with European Community design law relates to commissioned designs and ownership. The change ensures that, unless there is an agreement to the contrary in place, the actual designer will be the owner of a design created under commission rather than the commissioner. It is therefore important to make sure that written agreements are in place before a design is commissioned to establish clear ownership.

New Design Opinion Service from IPO

Several further design law changes include a new Design Opinion Service operated by the Intellectual Property Office and the implementation of defences to infringement of a UK unregistered design.

Make sure people know your rights exist

In order to recover damages in patent and design infringements it is important that enough information is provided so that an infringing party cannot claim to be unaware that a patent or registered exists. To ensure that an infringing party is aware of existing rights, the patent or registration numbers and the country where the right exists must also be indicated.

In this regard, the Act now stipulates that it is sufficient to provide a web address on the product allowing the relevant information to be accessed online.

Act paves the way for implementation of Unitary Patent Court Agreement

So far as patent law is concerned the Act will enable the UK to implement to Unitary Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) for the introduction of a unitary patent covering all member states of the European Union. The implementation of a unitary patent in due course is likely to have a significant positive impact on the costs and procedural efficiency of obtaining protection throughout the EU.

Further patent law changes include expansion of the IPO Patent Opinion Service to consider a range of validity issues not solely limited to novelty and inventiveness and the power for the Comptroller of patents to revoke a patent on his own initiative if an Opinion finds a patent to lack novelty or inventiveness.

For more information concerning the IP act 2014 and how this could have an impact on your business please contact us.

 

Author: Caroline Ward

Caroline Ward

 

 

 

New win in the fight against scam IP renewal notifications

New win in fight against scam IP renewalsIf you have filed a trade mark application in the UK or Europe, the chances are you will have received a letter from one or more companies with ‘Renewal notices’ for your registration.

The letters look very official and are extremely misleading.   The fees quoted for carrying out the renewal are extortionate and there is no guarantee that the actual official fees will be paid.  We know of several of our clients who have been misled into making excessive payments in the belief that they were paying the UK Intellectual Property Office for the renewal of their IP rights.

In May 2013 the UK Intellectual Property Office made a claim for passing off to the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court against the two worst offenders – ‘Patent and Trademark Office’ and ‘Patent and Trade Mark Organisation’.

These organisations have now admitted to and settled the UK IPO claims and agreed to be bound by an Order of the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court prohibiting them from further acts of passing off.

If you receive a letter of this kind are are not sure whether it is legitimate please contact us or the UK IPO to confirm if it is legitimate.

For more information about trade mark registration within the UK and Europe please contact Sanderson & Co.

Links

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/intellectual-property-office-succeeds-in-passing-off-claim

http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/rcj-rolls-building/intellectual-property-enterprise-court

Intellectual Property Enterprise Court – Wikipedia

Resolving IP disputes through the courts – UK IPO

 

Patent Box – tax savings on profits from patented inventions

What is the Patent Box?

Tax savings on profits from patented technologyThe UK Patent Box allows companies to apply a lower rate of UK Corporation Tax to profits related to their patents. The relief is currently being phased-in with the full benefit of 10% Corporation Tax being available from April 2017.

To qualify for Patent Box a company must have been involved with the development of the patent, or a product or process related to the patented invention, and must own or exclusively license the patent.

All granted UK and European patents, as well as patents from certain other countries in the European Economic Area, qualify for Patent Box regardless of when they were granted.

Qualifying income can arise from a number of sources including:

  • The sale of patented products or a product incorporating a patented invention including the sale of spare parts of such products even if the spare part itself is not patented.
  • Licence fees and royalties from a right granted over the patent.
  • Proceeds from the sale or exclusive licence of the patent.
  • Income received as compensation for patent infringement.
  • A notional royalty where a patented process or patented tool is used to generate profits that would not themselves qualify for the Patent Box relief.

Could Patent Box work for you?

Previously it may have been felt that it was not worth the expense of applying for a patent, especially if the product was likely to have a relatively short life span.

Depending on your current Corporation Tax liabilities, with the total cost for securing a direct UK patent typically being around £4000-£6000 + VAT, the Patent Box may make acquiring patent protection extremely cost effective.

The Patent Box also shifts the focus of patent protection away from trying to establish as broad a protection for the product as possible. A more narrow focus can make it easier to get a granted patent while still allowing a company to make a claim using the Patent Box.

However, potential users of the scheme need to bear in mind that a patent application must be filed before any public disclosure of the invention takes place. You cannot wait until you are sure you have a commercially successful product.

For more information and advice about patent protection, please contact Sanderson & Co.