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The Patent Application Process
Choosing the right Patent Path

The Patent Process

-  The process of getting a patent has the eight main steps described below.

-  Until the Patent is granted you can describe your idea as 'Patent Pending'.

-  When your patent is granted it will run from the date that you applied.

-  A Patent gives you an exclusive right to sell products based on the idea.

-  There is no charge for making a Patent Application in the UK

-  The total cost of a granted patent in fees to the Patent Office is 230 online

-  The first step is a Patent Search which we do as part of our Discovery Process. You can also use our online Patent Search tool as part of the free online services.
 

Check First

This process is quite an investment in time, and possibly money as well, so it is very important that you check that your idea has a reasonable chance of being granted a patent before you apply. The most common reason for rejection is that the idea already exists either as a patent or a product or a service that is on sale.

As part of our  Discovery Service we do a worldwide patent search to check that the idea is new. You can get the Discovery Pack from the free pack button above.


Keep it Secret!

The idea must be a secret at the time that you apply for the patent. If it is not, then it is described as 'In the Public Domain' and cannot be patented. So don't tell people about your idea unless they have signed a confidentiality agreement. You can get a suitable agreement for free if you are a member of the Enterprise Service, which is free to join, and has a number of other services that will be useful to you.

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 The Eight Steps to Getting a Patent
  1. Prepare a Patent Application. It contains a Description of the Idea, Drawings, a set of legal Claims and an Abstract that is a brief summary of the idea. There are rules and excellent guidelines about how to do this and the rest of the process on the Patent Office web site in their Guides Section. If you want to see a typical patent application from one of our companies click here.

  2. Send your completed application to the Patent Office (Intellectual Property Office or IPO) together with form F1 'Request for Grant of Patent'  which you can get from the Patent Office Guides by clicking here. There is no charge for filing this application. Click here for a Patent Office guide to completing it.

  3. The Patent Office will acknowledge receipt of your form and confirm the 'filing date' of your application. You will also be sent an invoice for the application fee of 30 but you do not need to pay this unless you proceed. Nothing will happen to your application until you complete the next steps which you must do within approximately twelve months or the application will automatically lapse.

  4. Complete form 9a together with the Application Fee of 30 and a Search Fee of 150 and send it to the Patent Office within 12 months of your filing date.

  5. The Patent Office will examine all your documents and if they are correctly completed they will conduct a 'Preliminary Search' and send you the results within four months. This search will tell you amongst other things whether they consider your idea to be a new idea.

  6. The Patent Office will publish your application within 18 months of your initial application unless you withdraw it. When it is published it goes into the Public Domain and from then the idea cannot be patented by anyone else but it does not mean that your patent will be granted. If you are considering changing your patent or improving it then you must withdraw your application before it is published.

  7. Within six months of publication complete Form 10 and send it to the Patent Office requesting a 'Substantive Examination' with a fee of 100

  8. If your idea meets all the requirements for a patent the Patent Office will confirm it and send you a Certificate.

    Our Discovery Service can help you through this process with professional advice from a Patent Attorney.
Please Note that this is only a brief summary and not legal advice. There are important rules and timings that must be met or you could lose your rights in your idea. There is no such thing as a worldwide patent and so there are also important actions that you must take if you want to file a patent application in other countries. You can do this under something called the Patent Cooperation Treaty or PCT and you may see references to a 'PCT Application'. You are strongly advised to get appropriate professional advice if you are at all unsure about what to do.
 We Show You the Path through the Patent Process 




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