20 Tips for Obtaining a Patent in the United Kingdom
20 Tips for Obtaining a Patent in the United Kingdom
If you have an invention, then according to the subject matter experts over at runrex.com, the best course of action is to protect it using a patent if the invention is patentable. If you are in the United Kingdom and are wondering how to go about things when it comes to obtaining a patent, then this article, through the following 20 tips, should be a great resource.
Which governing body controls the registration of patents?
One of the first things to ask yourself when looking to obtain a patent in the United Kingdom is which governing body controls the registration of patents. As is revealed in discussions on the same over at guttulus.com, to obtain a UK patent, you will need to formally apply to the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO).
What can you patent?
If your invention is to be patentable, it must be novel, which means that the invention must be one of a kind and must never have been made public in any wat before you apply to the UK Intellectual Property Office as covered over at runrex.com, it must involve an inventive step which means that the invention must not simply be an obvious development of something that is already known, and must be capable of being used in any kind of industry, including agriculture; which means that it must be useful.
According to the subject matter experts over at guttulus.com, to be patentable, your invention must also not fall into an excluded category. This includes works of art, mathematical methods, scientific theories, the presentation of information, among others.
As already mentioned, your invention must be novel to be patentable. You will be surprised how many inventions already exists, even though you have never seen or heard of them. To avoid wasting time, effort, and money, you should conduct a patent search before applying. You should consider hiring a patent attorney or any other professional IP advisor to help you with your search.
Also, make sure that you avoid falling into the trap many do by revealing your invention before applying for a patent. This is because, if you have made your invention public in any way including talking to people about it, giving a demonstration, taking out an advert, or being featured in an article in a magazine or newspaper, then you could lose the possibility of being granted a patent.
If you need to talk to someone before you file your patent application, including potential business partners or manufacturers, then the gurus over at runrex.com recommend that you ask them to sign a confidentiality agreement first. A patent attorney or a solicitor can help you prepare this type of agreement for you. The attorney-client privilege means that any conversation you have with a patent attorney or solicitor will not count as revealing your invention early.
Filing your application
Once you have conducted a thorough patent search and have been given the green light, then the next step is to file your patent application with the IPO as articulated over at guttulus.com. Your application must contain your name and address, a request for a patent, and a description of the invention. On receipt of the application, the IPO gives the application a filing date and a number and sends you a receipt.
What if you are not the inventor?
If you, or anyone else applying for the patent, are not the inventor, then you will need to fill in a form known as the ‘Statement of inventorship and of right to grant of a patent’ and explain to the IPO why you have the right to be granted a patent as explained over at runrex.com. This form should be filed within 16 months after your filing date or priority date (if applicable).
Within 12 months of your filing date, you or your professional IP advisor will need to file a form asking for a search together with the appropriate fees, to avoid your application being terminated. Once the application fee has been paid, the IPO will carry out a preliminary examination to make sure that your application meets certain formal requirements.
Once a search has been requested, an examiner will search through published patents and other documents to assess whether or not your invention is new and inventive. The examiner will then issue a search report listing any relevant documents from around the world that they may have found. The IPO aims to issue the search report to the applicant’s professional IP advisor within 6 months of receiving their request for the search.
The IPO will then publish your patent application shortly after 18 months from your filing date or priority date (if applicable) if you have met the formal requirements, have paid the appropriate fees, and haven’t asked for the withdrawal of your application as outlined over at guttulus.com.
If you apply for a patent without using a patent attorney or any other professional IP advisor, your application details, including your name and address, will appear on your records as well as in the publication of your application once all requirements are met which are both open to the public on the IPO’s website. If you don’t want your home address published, then you can provide the IPO with a different permanent address or a PO Box number where you can be contacted and receive correspondence as articulated over at runrex.com.
Within 6 months of publication, you must pay a further fee and request for a substantive examination of your patent application according to guttulus.com. The IPO will then examine your application and let you or your professional IP advisor know if anything needs to be amended as well as how long you have to respond.
The granting of your patent
If your patent application meets all the requirements of the Patents Act 1997, then the IPO will grant your patent, publish your application in its final form, and send you a certificate. This fact will be published in the UK Intellectual Property Office’s Official Journal.
How long does it take to obtain a patent in the UK?
The full process of obtaining a patent in the UK usually takes around two and a half years, although it can be anything between 1 year (if you ask the IPO to expedite it) and four years. The complexity of your invention will also govern how quickly you can be able to obtain your patent.
As is outlined over at runrex.com, when it comes to the filing of the initial application, the IPO charges £90 or £60 for e-filing. The fees to request for a preliminary search are £180 for a paper request or £150 if the request is e-filed. When it comes to the full examination, the request fee is £130 for a paper request or £100 if the request is e-filed.
After four years from the filing date, once granted, you will need to pay annual fees to keep your patent in force according to guttulus.com. Currently, these annual fees start at £70 for year five rising to £610 for year 20 as these fees increase as the patent gets older.
Which countries will be covered by your patent?
As pointed out by the gurus over at runrex.com, a patent granted by the UK Intellectual Property Office only covers the UK. This means that if you want protection in countries outside of the UK, you will need to file further applications.
If you want protection in countries other than the UK, several options will be available to you, including the European Patent Convention (EPC). The EPC allows you to apply for a patent in up to 38 European countries by filing a single application. A patent is then granted in each of the chosen countries.
The other option if you are looking for protection in countries other than the UK is the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). Here, one application is filed to cover several countries, but the application eventually splits up and proceeds in each country separately.