What is a Patent?
A patent provides legal protection for your new invention and stops other people from copying, making, using, importing or selling the invention without your permission for a set period of time.
A patent is a detailed document which explains how things work, what they do, how they do it, what they are made of and how they are made.
The Intellectual Property Office states that in order to be granted a patent your invention must:
- Be new
- Have an inventive step that is not obvious to someone with knowledge or experience in the subject
- Be capable of being made or used in some kind of industry
And it must NOT be:
- A scientific or mathematical discovery, theory or method
- A literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work
- A way of performing a mental act, playing a game or doing business
- The presentation of information, or some computer programs
- An animal or plant variety
- A method of medical treatment or diagnosis
- Against public policy or morality
Once approved your patent must be renewed every year after the 5th year, for up to 20 years protection.
Can I apply for a Patent myself or do I need to consult with a Solicitor?
Your application for a patent will centre on a legal document called a specification.
You can prepare a specification and apply for a patent yourself but if you are not familiar with patent issues then you should use a chartered patent solicitor who will be able to help you assess whether your idea is appropriate for patent protection and can help you complete all the necessary documentation.
In addition a solicitor will also be able to help you prepare a confidentiality agreement which you must get signed if you need to speak to someone else about your invention before the patent is granted.
Is a Patent the best way to protect my invention?
Applying for a patent can be a very time consuming and expensive process. There are other options available to help you protect your ideas including:
- Registered design
- Registered trademark
- Unregistered design right and copyright
- Confidentiality agreements
Your solicitor will be able to provide further advice and recommend the best way for you to protect your Intellectual Property depending on your individual circumstances.
JWK can help you. Get in touch today
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Craig obtained an LLB Honours degree at Leicester and moved to Chester Law School to complete his solicitors final examination. He joined Jobling & Knape in September 1987 as... Read more
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