Inventor information

Note bookIf you have come up with an invention, then the principal way of protecting that invention is to file a patent application at the United Kingdom Patent Office. Your invention must be kept confidential before any application is filed. Once a filing has been made, the patent application will be searched and examined by the Patent Office. This process will normally take several years, although if you request a search when you file your application, this will usually be carried out in 3 to 4 months.

The Patent Office will grant you a patent if your invention is novel and inventive. The search and examination by the Patent Office will be directed mostly to these two points, although other issues can arise. Once the Patent Office's objections (if there are any) are overcome then you will be granted a patent that can last for 20 years from the original filing date, provided periodic renewal fees are paid.

If you want to obtain a patent in any foreign country, then an application overseas will have to be filed within twelve months of the original UK filing. How this is to be done will very much depend upon your financial plans and the country or countries in which you are interested. Specialist advice is very important in this area.

Obtaining a patent is not a cheap process, costs will run into hundreds of pounds and if you file abroad, then many thousands can be spent. You should be clear as to why you are spending your money on filing one or more patent applications. Are you setting up a new business? Will you licence your idea to a company? You can draft and file your own patent application, but it is advisable to be represented by a professional. For individual advise and detailed estimate of charges, an initial consultation is available free of charge.