General Requirements for Patent Protection in the UK

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In order to apply for a patent in the UK it must be established whether the invention is functional or technical and whether it is original.

If the invention has been publicised anywhere in the world prior to a patent application, the application will fail. However, publication does not include discussions regarding the invention with solicitors, patent agents or employees at the UK Intellectual Property Office.

It must also be established whether the invention relates to how something works, what it is made of, what it does, how it is made, whether there has been any kind of an inventive step, whether it has any kind of an industrial use and whether it is capable of being made in an industry.

Inventions must work in a way which meets with established physical laws and must not be obvious to a person with a good knowledge of the subject.

Patents cannot be obtained for protection of playing a game, for a way of doing business, for certain computer programs, for performing a mental act, for animal or plant varieties, for any methods of medical treatment or diagnosis or for anything immoral or anything contrary to public policy.

There is no patent protection for scientific or mathematical discoveries, theories or methods or copyright works such as literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works.

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