A patent agent assists you in writing and claiming your invention.
Creating a successful product for the market is about solving problems that exist with products that are already available. An invention is simply a collection of technical features that combine together to solve some existing technical problem. An invention which is new and not obvious in the light of existing knowledge (also known as prior art) can, with appropriate skill in claim drafting, be protected by means of a granted patent.
How we can help you with Patents
To get a patent you first need a patent specification. That document is the one I can help you to write. Your patent specification will usually need to include technical drawings and a description both of the technical background, the problem and your solution. I have a degree in maths and physics and am a chartered electrical engineer. If your invention is mechanical, electrical or a medical device, you will probably find that you can teach me the necessary level of understanding to be able to assist you in drafting your patent specification. We can also guide that specification through the UK IPO and, if protection beyond the UK as required, through patent offices in other countries, with the assistance of overseas colleagues.
Most free search engines have limited databases and it is almost impossible to say with finality whether an invention is likely to result in a granted patent. Even a patent that is granted, may be vulnerable to revocation if someone is able to find a relevant disclosure that was available to the public before the patent application was filed.
We can direct you to skilled searchers who can access more extensive databases if need be. However, as part of the patent application process at the UK IPO, they will carry out a search for you for a very modest fee. Libraries can also help. Your nearest patent library in Yorkshire is Leeds, Hull or Sheffield, but the best resources are at the British library Business and IP centre in London, where there are more staff who can assist you in conducting your own searches.
The first stage for a UK business in protecting an invention is to file a patent application at the UK IPO. This establishes a priority date. Thanks to an international convention, it is possible to defer filing in other territories until 12 months after that priority date. If you are an exporter, then you will want patent protection outside the UK and you will find that each invention generates a family of patents. Like all families, patent families need ongoing budgets. We can help you manage your growing portfolio.
In the UK IPO, there is no need to pay renewal until the patent is granted. After that, renewal fees are due annually if you wish to maintain the patent for its full life. If you file an application at the European patent, you will be required to pay fees every year from the second anniversary of its filing date. In the US, due dates for their maintenance fees are calculated from the issue date. In most other countries annual fees are due. I can manage your renewals or you can use a dedicated service provider if you want to control it into house. We recommend Envoy Renewals for a cost-effective service which is not dependent on the size of your portfolio.
A patent is a legal mechanism for preventing others without your consent from making, importing or selling that which you have claimed. While some people will respect your patent and wait for it to expire or decide to design round it or ask for a licence, others may infringe. This leads to patent disputes. Not every patent dispute is between a telecoms or pharmaceutical giant. Those parties will always need to retain the most expensive Counsel and largest, specialist law firms. Their shareholders would feel aggrieved if their massive income streams, were not defended by the best available resource.
However, if the income streams generated by your inventions are less mind-boggling, it may still be proportionate to make an infringement complaint. Sometimes a resolution by a judge is the only way to settle a dispute and it may be more informative to do it sooner rather than later.
The Intellectual property Enterprise Court has jurisdiction over patent disputes in the UK and the new unified patent Court may soon be able to provide outcomes which cover more than one European jurisdiction. In these courts, I have right of audience. It is also possible to ask for an opinion from the UK IPO. This can be a very cost-effective way of solving a dispute.
What can and can’t be patented?
As well as being new and non obvious, there are some other excluded subject matters. If it’s excluded, it’s usually too abstract or better protected by copyright.
The rules we apply in the UK are the same as those used by the European patent office so you can review Art 52(2) of the European Patent Convention and Article 53. Business methods and software are the ones that cause most issues