Is It An Invention? First things first. You can not patent an idea simply because you feel you are the first person to come up with it. A patent is there to protect an ‘invention’, not simply an understanding. When you apply for a patent what you are doing is specifying, through text and drawings, how your invention works. In return for this public release of Invent Help Patent Information, if it really is new the state will grant you exclusive rights to it for 20 years. Therefore in order to patent your idea, its core concept must be explainable in basic and direct terms.
The other reason you can’t just patent an idea is it must involve a novel and inventive step. The novel bit is simple but a standard misconception is that many individuals think they can obtain a patent as they are the initial person to create the idea. However, when you take a moment to your first meeting using a patent attorney one of the primary things they may wish to establish is whether your invention is really an invention. It is really vital that you understand this, so you don’t waste time considering patenting a thing that is just not patentable. A simple explanation with this ‘obviousness’ test is just as follows: Would a hypothetical skilled person, who knows everything but lacks the slightest spark of inventive ingenuity, think of the identical idea should they knew all the prior art (all previous ideas), but had not read your patent application? If the answer is yes in that case your idea is not an invention, its simply the logical implementation of current day knowledge to an alternative problem and thus you can’t patent it.
This is an excellent description in legal regards to the EU approach to judging inventiveness (the united kingdom is slightly different): Will there be any teaching within the prior art, overall, that could, not merely could, have prompted the skilled person, faced with the objective technical problem formulated when considering the technical features not disclosed by the closest prior art, to change or adapt said closest prior art while taking account of that teaching [the teaching in the prior art, not only the teaching from the closest prior art], thereby reaching something falling in the relation to the claims, and thus achieving just what the invention achieves? It’s the “would, not merely could” that is the very important definition here.
The United States is different to Europe and actually this inventiveness step is regularly not properly tested or applied, leading to many many patents being granted in america which are actually very obvious logical implementation of existing ideas. Most companies have spent huge sums of income attempting to overturn such patents but although a granted US patent may be overturned its is very rare that certain is. In several ways the usa patent product is more similar to what many people assume about patents right here, if your the very first person come up with an idea then you could patent it. The obvious negative thing is that lots of bad patents have already been unfairly granted and have unfairly blocked numerous others from having the ability to produce items that should never happen to be protected by patents to start with.
Commercial Value – If you’ve got to here then hopefully you have What Is A Patent which may be patentable. The next tests are often completely overlooked at the outset however are also important. The foremost and most significant is the thing that will an excellent granting of a patent do to suit your needs? Patents cost money. Sure you can look and file yourself but its incredibly time-consuming and just like all things legal bringing in an expert, as a patent attorney, is generally a better route. Carrying out the searches and filing your patent application through an attorney will definitely cost a couple of thousand pounds. Afterwards you use a relatively short time before you need to decide if you are going to file the patent in other countries throughout the world, which costs more money and in case you are filing in lots of countries the translations could become very expensive. Once you’ve got your patent you then have ongoing costs every year to patent offices to keep the patent active. So anything your trying to patent offers to become worth this from the commercial business perspective (if you are put off by the very thought of needing to spend several thousand pounds using a patent attorney is the thing that your doing well worth patenting at all?).
Many people and companies apply for patents to get the IP, so that they can then attract investors to help them place their invention forward. If you’ve watched a few instances of Dragon’s Den on the TV it must have become very obvious that investors do not take wild risks and if you wish someone to invest in your business or idea they should feel secure in this way. For those who have a patent for a good idea that can be commercialised it can often provide exactly this protection for the investor so you happen to be stage even closer to getting them to part with this very important cash (you’ll probably have likewise noticed that although investors are often not very nice people they tend to only desire to work with nice people!).
Another misconception is that once you have a patent no-one else can copy your idea. Well although legally they can’t, the State won’t actually stop them. If a person infringes on your patent it is actually down to one to stop them, typically by spending large sums of money with lawyers and making use of the courts. If the infringer is really a large company, or several companies infringe your patent you have to be capable of fund the legal action. If your invention is commercial enough then these legal steps is definitely not an issue as you’ll find the money, win the situation and eventually get much of it back. However, if your fighting a huge company which has a lot of money to string out your legal action for a long time is it actually worthwhile? Is the idea your trying to patent commercial enough to justify all this.
There are numerous smaller companies available that view patenting as a waste of time and money and choose to direct their resources, attention and money at being the first one to market and first to innovate. In the event you be one of those instead of spending what could be plenty of your time and expense protecting your idea?
You could be trying to patent your invention to then license it to another one company to create. For twelve months from filing your patent you may have international patent protection and you would like to use the first 10 months of this to ensure your idea could be commercialised before having to make a decision on which other countries also to apply in and giving your attorney per month or two to carry out the required work. You must move bloody fast! If you are approaching big companies they will often take several months to get back to you before you even suggest to them the invention and start negotiations. Should your carrying this out 6 – 8 months in their too far gone because they know you might have almost no time and definately will often play for time to force you right into a bad business position, or just in the hope you will not complete the patent if the 12 months is up. Whilst you can’t tell anyone regarding your invention before you decide to file you patent application you can get round this by asking companies (like us) to sign non disclosure agreements and commence work on the development of your products or services in advance so that you hit the earth running as soon as the application form is filed.
If the above hasn’t put you off then perhaps you actually have that elusive brilliant idea. Book an appointment using a patent attorney (anything good attorney should provide you with a first appointment for free) and acquire cracking! To learn more there are lots of great web resources on filing for patents which we won’t try and re-create here.
Several patent help tips – When researching an invention you’ll often need to read existing patent applications to make certain your idea is totally new. Patents can be many pages long and horribly worded, but generally its just the first primary claim in a patent which is crucial. The others will just be lesser claims the patent can fall back to should the higher claims ever be overturned or rejected by the patent examiner.
Where there might be ambiguity in a claim the patent description has the ability influence the claims and may therefore happen to be deliberately written therefore, so look through the description to see if it attempts to provide this.
Patent claims are not exclusive. Because claims describes just one way of doing something doesn’t imply that it couldn’t be performed differently.
Patents include a detailed description which is generally intended to provide an explanation / instructions of how the invention could be utilised. Keep in mind this only needs to cover one specific utilization of the invention and doesn’t exclude the claims being used in alternative methods.
Claims generally relate to an Apparatus (equipment designed or assembled for the purpose) or a Method (a way of doing something), and often patents include both with all the intention that the method claims can be fallen back on if the apparatus claims be rejected.
Interestingly one of many aims of patents would be to promote I Have An Invention. Whilst blocking other businesses from copying ideas might seem to accomplish the exact opposite, the natural reaction when faced with a patent it to try to work around it. We’ve dealt with several companies and done exactly this, having been briefed having a product they wish to produce and the existing patent seeming to bar it. There is certainly more often than not a means round a patent but the aim is to try and practice it in a way that leaves you with a commercial product which still serves its purpose inside an affordable way (great patents block this by protecting against all the economical methods for achieving the same).
Filing a patent application doesn’t mean that any searching will be done. Everything that happens is definitely the application is filed and due to the once over. It is going to then be examined in more detail with a patent examiner but even if the patent is awarded it can be overturned whenever you want if prior art may be proved. If you would like your application to possess a level of commercial value (in case your carrying it out for IP purposes) you should also do a search. However even then be aware that searches usually are not necessarily as skilled as you might expect and patent office searches will not necessarily search anything apart from previous published patent applications and filings. Should you be just filing throughout the uk then this UK patent office search will of course be the greatest route, but if you intend to submit internationally be aware that searches performed for EU or international applications are frequently significantly more detailed and thorough. The reason is that there are much more EU patent examiners which tends to mean that individual examiners are able to be considerably more knowledgeable in their specialised areas. You can elbgql for alternative party searches but whilst these are generally often very expensive (£1000 and upwards) they are not necessarily much better than the search the united kingdom patent office provides except if you spend a lot of cash (the price of the UK search is subsidised). The one thing to always remember about searches is the fact its tough to quantify a search result. Because a search didn’t find prior art doesn’t imply that another search won’t.
There is no point giving the patent attorney a lot of information. They should write the patent from their knowledge and experience, not from the bad attempt. Here’s what ought to be ideally provided:-
* Drawings and descriptions from the drawings to have the idea across.
* The main advantages of the invention.
* Modifications which are easy to the invention.
* Crucial points and optional points.
* Don’t include tons of existing patents – they’ll only need to read them and that will therefore cost more. 1 or 2 may be helpful though.