Patents. Why bother?

The most obvious point to make is the majority of practical innovations can be patentable. However it follows that it can be difficult to invent something which is new. In addition the costs of a patent can be very high, not least the expenses involved in maintaining the patent.

In view of the large number of patents filed you may wish to instruct a search of the international patent and patent application databases to help identify any similar inventions or prior art relevant to your invention.

Such a search could provide a better idea of the generic patentability and novelty of the invention and would involve searching the databases by keyword, category and generational cross referencing.

This way it would give you a framework to consider whether or not your invention is new and consider if there were any features that needed development or expansion.

Often clients bypass the patentability and file. You can normally file at the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO) to achieve a quick ‘priority date’ for protection and get your invention quickly and efficiently searched for novelty and inventive step.

The majority of the cost of filing will be drafting fees. These fees range from £2,000-£3,500 +VAT depending on the complexity, drafting of the specification. Once filed other expenses arise with dealing with examiners making amendments etc etc.

A priority date starts the clock ticking. If you proceed and obtain grant of a patent in a country you file in you may be able to retrospectively claim against infringers from the priority date.

You will have 12 months to review the potential of the device, find investors, and decide whether you want to extend internationally from the filing date.

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