Patents are used to protect inventions and give the creator the right to take legal action against anyone who uses, makes, sells or imports the invention without your permission. Before a patent is granted, you must prove that the invention is something that can be made or used, is new and is inventive. This means that the invention must not be simply a slight modification of something that already exists.
Patents are usually very difficult to have granted, therefore it is vital that professional patent solicitors advice is sought before any attempts at applying for one are made.
What cannot be patented?
The following is a list of things that cannot be granted a patent:
- Artistic, dramatic, literary or musical work
A way of thinking, doing business or playing a game
- A method of medical treatment or diagnosis
- A scientific theory, mathematical method or a discovery
- New seeds, animals or types of plant
- The way that information is presented
- Some computer programs
Before an application
Patents are the most difficult form of intellectual property protection to apply for. It is advised that you discuss whether applying for a patent is appropriate for your business before you proceed. A patent should only be applied for if the invention is new (and you have searched for similar published patents) and if you have the time and funds to make the application. The application process is long and can take upwards of 5 years to complete. It is also expensive, meaning that with professional assistance the application can cost upwards of £4,000. The process is also extremely complex in nature, meaning that an only 1 in 20 applications that are submitted without professional assistance are accepted and are granted a patent.