Is It An Invention? First things first. You can not patent an idea simply because you believe you are the first person to come up with it. A patent is there to protect an ‘invention’, not simply a concept. When you apply for a patent what you’re doing is specifying, through text and drawings, the way your invention works. In return for this public release of Inventors Help, if it really is new the state will grant you exclusive rights to it for 20 years. Therefore so that you can patent your idea, its core concept needs to be explainable in basic and direct terms.
Another reason you can’t just patent a concept is that it must involve a novel and inventive step. The novel bit is easy but a standard misconception is the fact that many people think they can obtain a patent as they are the first person to generate the idea. However, when you sit down to your first meeting having a patent attorney one of the first things they will want to establish is whether your invention is really an invention. It is definitely essential to understand this, so that you will don’t spend time considering patenting a thing that is simply not patentable. A simple explanation with this ‘obviousness’ test is just as follows: Would a hypothetical skilled person, who knows everything but lacks the least spark of inventive ingenuity, come up with exactly the same idea if they knew all the prior art (all previous ideas), but had not read your patent application? If the answer is yes after that your idea will not be an invention, its simply the logical implementation of current day knowledge to a new problem and therefore you can’t patent it.
This is a good description in legal regards to the EU approach to judging inventiveness (the UK is slightly different): Will there be any teaching in the prior art, as a whole, that will, not simply could, have prompted the skilled person, up against the goal technical problem formulated when contemplating the technical features not disclosed through the closest prior art, to modify or adapt said closest prior art while taking account of the teaching [the teaching in the prior art, not simply the teaching in the closest prior art], thereby reaching something falling in the regards to the claims, and so achieving what the invention achieves? It’s the “would, not simply could” this is the important definition here.
The United States is different to Europe and actually this inventiveness step is regularly improperly tested or applied, ultimately causing many patents being granted in the united states that are actually very obvious logical application of existing ideas. A lot of companies have spent huge sums of money trying to overturn such patents but although a granted US patent can be overturned its is incredibly rare that one is. In several ways the US patent product is more akin to what many individuals assume about patents right here, should your the very first person come up with an understanding then you can certainly patent it. The obvious negative thing is that lots of bad patents have been unfairly granted and also have unfairly blocked many others from being able to produce items that should never have been protected by patents to begin with.
Commercial Value – If you’ve have got to here then hopefully you have Inventor Ideas that could be patentable. The following tests are often completely overlooked at the outset but they are also important. The first and most significant is the thing that will a successful granting of the patent do for you personally? Patents cost money. Sure you can look and file yourself however its incredibly time consuming and like all things legal bringing in a professional, by means of a patent attorney, is usually a much better route. Performing the searches and filing your patent application through an attorney will cost a couple of thousand pounds. Afterwards you possess a relatively short time period before you need to decide if you are going to submit the patent in other countries all over the world, which costs more cash and if you are filing in plenty of countries the translations could become extremely expensive. Once you’ve got your patent afterwards you have ongoing costs every year to patent offices to maintain the patent active. So whatever it is your seeking to patent has to be worth this from a commercial business perspective (in case you are put off by the thought of being forced to spend several thousand pounds using a patent attorney is the thing that your doing worthy of patenting at all?).
Many people and companies apply for patents to gain the IP, to enable them to then attract investors to assist them get their invention forward. If you’ve watched a couple of episodes of Dragon’s Den on the TV it should have become very obvious that investors usually do not take wild risks and if you wish someone to invest in your company or idea they should feel secure by doing this. In case you have a patent for a great idea that can be commercialised it will often provide exactly this protection for an investor so you are a stage even closer to getting these to part with this very important cash (you’ll probably have also realized that although investors are occasionally not so nice people they have an inclination to only desire to do business with nice people!).
Another misconception is the fact 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 somebody infringes on the patent it really is down to one to stop them, typically by spending large sums of income with lawyers and using the courts. In the event the infringer is a large company, or several companies infringe your patent you need to be able to fund the court action. If your invention is commercial enough then these legal steps will never be a problem as you’ll discover the money, win the truth and in the end get much of it back. If however your fighting a huge company which has a lot of money to string from the legal action for some time will it be actually worth the cost? Is the idea your seeking to patent commercial enough to warrant all this.
There are lots of smaller companies available that view patenting as a total waste of time and expense and choose to direct their resources, attention and cash at being the first one to market and first to innovate. Should you be one of these rather than spending what could be lots of your time and money protecting your idea?
You could be seeking to patent your invention to then license it to another one company to generate. For twelve months from filing your patent you may have international patent protection and you want to use the first 10 months of this to make sure your idea can be commercialised before being forced to decide on which other countries also to apply in and giving your attorney a month or two to handle the essential work. You need to move bloody fast! In case you are approaching big companies they are going to often take a couple of months to get back to you before you could even suggest to them the invention and start negotiations. If your accomplishing this 6 – 8 months in its far too late since they know you might have virtually no time and can often play for time to force you right into a bad business position, or simply with the hope you will not complete the patent when the one year is up. As you can’t tell anyone regarding your invention prior to deciding to file you patent application you will get round this by asking companies (such as us) to sign non disclosure agreements and commence work on the progression of your product in advance so you hit the floor running as soon as the applying is filed.
If the above hasn’t put you off maybe you do have that elusive brilliant idea. Book a scheduled appointment using a patent attorney (anything good attorney should offer you a first appointment for free) and obtain cracking! To learn more there are lots of great web resources on filing patents which we won’t try to re-create here.
A few patent help tips – When researching an invention you’ll often have to read existing patent applications to make sure your idea is totally new. Patents can be many pages long and horribly worded, but generally its merely the first primary claim in a patent which is crucial. The remainder will simply be lesser claims the patent can fall to should the higher claims ever be overturned or rejected by the patent examiner.
Where there may be ambiguity in a claim the patent description has the ability influence the claims and may therefore have been deliberately written as a result, so look over the description to see if it tries to provide this.
Patent claims usually are not exclusive. Because an insurance claim describes one way of doing something doesn’t imply that it couldn’t be completed differently.
Patents add a detailed description which can be generally intended to provide an explanation / instructions of methods the invention might be utilised. Keep in mind this only has to cover one specific utilisation of the invention and doesn’t exclude the claims being used in different ways.
Claims generally relate to an Apparatus (equipment designed or assembled for a particular purpose) or a Method (a means of performing something), and frequently patents include both using the intention the method claims may be fallen back on in case the apparatus claims be rejected.
Interestingly one of many aims of patents is to promote Product Ideas. Whilst blocking others from copying ideas may seem to perform the precise opposite, natural reaction when dealing with a patent it to attempt to work around it. We’ve dealt with several companies and done exactly this, having been briefed using a product they would like to produce and also the existing patent seeming to block it. There is almost always an easy method round a patent but the aim is to try to practice it in a manner in which leaves you using a commercial product which still serves its purpose in an affordable way (great patents block this by protecting against all the economical methods for achieving the same).
Filing a patent application doesn’t imply that any searching will likely be done. All of that happens is the application is filed and due to the once over. It can then be examined in depth by way of a patent examiner but even when the patent is awarded it may be overturned anytime if prior art can be proved. If you want your application to possess a level of commercial value (should your performing it for IP purposes) you need to also do a search. However even so keep in mind searches are not necessarily as skilled as you may expect and patent office searches will never necessarily search anything other than previous published patent applications and filings. If you are just filing in the UK then a UK patent office search will obviously be the best route, but if you are planning to submit internationally keep in mind searches completed for EU or international applications will often be significantly more detailed and thorough. The reason is that there are a lot more EU patent examiners which has a tendency to mean that individual examiners can be considerably more knowledgeable in their specialised areas. It is possible to elbgql for 3rd party searches but whilst they are often extremely expensive (£1000 and upwards) they are not necessarily a lot better than the search great britain patent office provides except if you spend a lot of cash (the expense of great britain search is subsidised). One thing to continually remember about searches is that its very hard to quantify a search result. Simply because searching didn’t find prior art doesn’t suggest that another search won’t.
There is no point giving the patent attorney a lot of information. They have to write the patent from their experience and knowledge, not from your bad attempt. Here’s what ought to be ideally provided:-
* Drawings and descriptions in the drawings to have the idea across.
* The advantages of the invention.
* Modifications which can be easy to the invention.
* Crucial points and optional points.
* Don’t include plenty of existing patents – they’ll only need to read them which will therefore cost more. 1 or 2 might be helpful though.