Patents are one of four main areas of Intellectual Property; also including Trade marks, Copyrights and Designs. It is crucial to understand the differences between each when applying them to your work.
What is a Patent?
A patent is the exclusive right that is granted to someone that prevents others from manufacturing, importing, using or selling their inventions without prior permission. Patent rights are territorial rights that are only applicable to inventions that are unique and commercially viable and, once they are granted, are only credible within the country that the patent was granted in.
Applying for patent rights is deemed as harder than other Intellectual Property rights, as the checking process of the invention can be lengthy and costly.
How to create a Patent?
A UK patent is not an automatic right, it must be applied for through the UK Intellectual Property Office [IPO] by the inventor. This must be applied for within one year of publicly disclosing the invention, with the ideas for the invention having to be written down, drawn, or otherwise embodied into an invention, it must also be new. The invention must be kept confidential until it is filed at the IPO, as, once an invention is made public, there will be no protection, and the inventor is unable to obtain a patent.
The application should be filed by an Intellectual Property adviser, with the application including:
- A written description of the invention – to display how it works and how it could be made.
- Drawings – that illustrate the description.
- Claims – the specific legal statements in the form of single sentences that define the invention via its distinctive technical features.
- An abstract – a summary that involves all essential technical aspects of the invention.
The IPO will respond by issuing a filing receipt that includes the application number.
What does Patent protection prevent?
A UK patent does not protect ideas that exist in the mind, only inventions that are existent and physical. The rights permit the inventor to prevent others from using or copying their inventions, to take legal action against those who infringe on their invention and to claim appropriate damages accordingly.
What can be protected as a Patent:
In the UK, different types of inventions can be protected as patents, with the inventions’ designs being protected by unregistered or registered design rights; another Intellectual Property asset. The type of invention must be something that can be made or used and must be new and inventive (e.g. Not a simple modification of an already-existing invention).
Duration of a Patent:
UK patent rights often only provide protection of an invention for 1-20 years from the date of application. Inventors can renew their patent application for further patent rights.
How can Lawdit help?
Lawdit Solicitors can assist in filing for patents; we will conduct a prior art search, to identify any previous inventions that may be too similar to your invention, and are able to create a plan for your application. Lawdit Solicitors will perform this administrative work under one, set fee, unlike many other patent solicitors who charge per action.
If you would like any assistance with filing for a Patent, or have any questions regarding patents, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with the team at Lawdit Solicitors for further information, and the set price for the art search and administrative work to get your patent journey underway.