Patent Advice

What is a patent?

Patent: A patent application will be about the ideas behind your product such as how it works, what it does and why. A granted patent gives its owner the right to prevent anyone else producing, importing or selling, within the geographical jurisdiction.

Why patent a product?

Making a patent application gives you a date for priority over other people for your application, ideas or product.  It also lets you claim you have a ‘Patent Pending’ which can be useful for many commercial reasons.

A granted patent provides a monopoly over the idea and so prevents all competitors from creating imitation or similar products that use the idea.

Important information about patenting

Although patents are very important they are not applicable to every project. Sometimes it is not possible to obtain a patent on your idea and sometimes there are other more relevant forms of protection from which you could benefit. See Idea Protection – Vital Information…

We conduct a free review to help establish which form of idea protection is right for you, so that you can avoid unnecessary patent costs.

Some people may choose to seek the services of a patent agent or attorney firm from day one but this is not likely to be the best course of action for an inventor new to the game. Patent agents cannot give you help with presentation, design, development, or prototyping, or provide commercial advice, so if your project is still at an early stage it’s likely to be a waste of their time and your money.

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Patent agents are necessary for legal matters, such as filing overseas. If you have already fully developed and prototyped your product and/or you have already submitted a UK patent application, we can help with finding a patent attorney or agent.

Innovate Product Design is not a law firm, but a product design firm, with wide experience of design matters and what makes for commercial success, also having a very keen understanding of the requirements of individual inventors.  Innovate only produces drafts.  All patent matters should be dealt with by a Patent Firm.  Innovate stress to clients that all disclosures made before a use of a Patent Firm should be kept confidential and there be no offer for sale or public use of the invention, to maximize chances of obtaining protection to the invention and improvements.  There may be short- and long-term risks as well as benefits involved in any approach, and we advise that the client takes advice on these risks.

How much do patents cost?

The UK application fee currently costs between £230-280 but you have 12 months in which to make payment, and you have 12 months from when the UK application is filed before difficult and expensive decisions have to be made regarding patenting overseas. See Patent Application…

This allows 12 months to approach industry and backers with your idea to obtain the feedback and funding to make these decisions.  This often helps develop a product further.

After four years, once granted, you will have annual renewal fees to pay. These start off at almost a quarter of the application fee and rise in small increments each year until the 20th year, when the patent expires.

In some instances, if you acquire a licensing deal it may be agreed that the company takes on future patenting costs and therefore the costs of patenting overseas and maintaining your patents may not even come out of your pocket! See Sell your Idea – Licensing…

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NB. We endeavour to keep your patent costs to a minimum to avoid you spending unnecessary funds until it is worth it. Although there are undoubtedly costs when developing or protecting an idea they needn’t be high at this early stage so don’t let the associated cost of patent applications or complications deter you from obtaining protection for your idea, because a granted patent could be incredibly lucrative in the long run. It is essential to complete as much work as possible before filing your patent to increase the chances of your patent being granted, and for what you want it to be granted.

How do I apply for a patent?

To apply for a patent you must draft an application covering all the relevant sections and attach this to a completed Form 1, to be sent to the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO). See Idea Protection – Patent Application…

You do not have to send fees with your application as you have 12 months to pay , but you can send the application fee and search fee at this time if you wish. It will not affect the cost of a patent application either way.

You can send your application by post, fax or deliver by hand.  You can also now apply online to the UK IPO.

To apply for a patent in any other country it is generally best to first apply in the UK and then apply elsewhere within the first 12 months from this first filing.

To apply in Europe you must apply to the European Patent Office (EPO) – which can be done online or by post.

To apply for a PCT (International Patent) you must apply to either the UK IPO to be forwarded onto the correct office or to the EPO or direct to the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO).

We strongly suggest that a patent attorney is used for any foreign filings.

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For more information on the patent application process click here: Idea Protection – Patent Application…

Other forms of protection for your idea

Protection for your new idea can be obtained by applying for a patent, registering the design, automatic copyright or potentially even a registering a trade mark. The best method of protection depends on the individual idea: Innovate Design offers a free review of your idea which will help determine the most appropriate form of idea protection.

To submit your idea to us click here: Free Idea Review

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