Patent Law and the Basics

We are often asked to file patents on behalf of our clients. Firstly we are solicitors not patent agents. We work closely with our agents and Neville Walker to file patents on our client’s behalf. The procedure for clients to consider when filing an application is as follows:-

File application and obtain prioity date within 5 days.

You pay the IPO to carry out searches to enable you to decide whether or not to proceed and, if so, how widely to file ie in what country

You then have one full year to file more details, in terms of claims, worked examples, the abstract and formal drawings. Do not disclose this information.The 20-year term for patent protection in the UK runs from the date of filing of this fuller application

Make a request within one year for a search of prior art.

After 18 months the application will be published.

You will then request a substantive examination (for which a further fee is payable). At this stage, the ways in which the claimed invention differs from any cited prior art will be discussed and, after negotiation with the examiner as to the scope of the claims, the patent is granted (on payment of a further fee), and published. If the examiner refuses to grant a patent, there is a right of appeal to the Patents Court.

Third parties may contact the examiner with observations and draw his attention to prior art of which he was previously unaware. The examiner is not obliged to take account of such observations or to give reasons as to why he does not do so.

Patents may take up to 4 years from application to grant.

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