Patents are territorial rights granted by governments to the creators, or subsequent owners, of new and inventive products or processes meeting the requirements of the relevant national patent legislation. They provide a temporary legal monopoly preventing others from making, selling and using the protected invention, or importing it into those countries where granted patent rights are held.
If patent rights are infringed they can be enforced via the courts. Our patent attorneys – which include former Patent Office examiners – guide clients through this complex area of law and help them secure and protect their competitive advantage.
To be patentable an invention must be both new and non-obvious to a person of ordinary skill in the relevant technical field. These two fundamental criteria must be satisfied on the date that a patent application is filed. The question of obviousness can be subjective and is often a source of dispute between patent applicants and patent office examiners. Our attorneys have years of experience in patent drafting, and in presenting persuasive written and oral arguments to national patent examiners to thus secure commercially useful granted patent rights for our clients.
To ensure that the fundamental novelty requirement is met it is therefore crucial to avoid any public disclosure of an invention whatsoever prior to the lodging of a patent application. Should commercial circumstances dictate that early disclosure is unavoidable then confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) must be employed to preserve the validity of a subsequently granted patent.
Whilst many patent applicants will know their industry inside out, many inventions that have never become a commercial reality can be found within published patent literature. It is possible to test the originality of an invention before committing to the more substantial investment associated with filing a professionally drafted patent application. Our fixed price patentability search service is aimed at locating prior-published patent documentation relevant to your invention. The results of our searches are presented in a report with clear conclusions and recommendations thus allowing you take informed decisions on the protection of your own invention.
A patent application must contain a detailed description of an invention cross referenced to any relevant drawings, and one or more claims which define the legal scope of protection being sought. The wording of the claims must strike a balance between providing a commercially useful scope of protection whilst excluding what is already known. This demands a great deal of skill and expertise. All our patent attorneys have specialist knowledge within engineering disciplines coupled with many years of patent drafting experience.
A patent monopoly typically lasts for 20 years from its filing date provided that renewal fees are paid (usually annually) to maintain it in force. Through our affiliation with a dedicated renewals provider you gain access to highly competitive volume-based renewal costs which are usually the exclusive reserve of corporations with very large patent portfolios.
The mere existence of a granted patent can deter unauthorised commercial exploitation of an invention by others. However, if infringements do occur our attorneys will recommend the most appropriate actions and take swift and effective action on your behalf. The majority of disputes can be resolved without the need for expensive court action. Equally, if you are accused of patent infringement, or your ownership of a patent is disputed, we can assess the matter and help negotiate a settlement on your behalf. This may involve taking appropriate defensive or aggressive action consistent with any commercial sensitivities and budgetary constraints.
It is possible to self-file a patent application without professional assistance. However, the legal and procedural complexities are significant should not be underestimated. Don’t take our word for it though. The UK Intellectual Property Office itself confirms here that only 5% of patent applications filed without professional input are granted. Furthermore, in those circumstances where granted patent rights have been obtained without professional assistance, they rarely provide a commercially useful scope of protection. It is often not possible to rectify any drafting errors retrospectively. We therefore recommend that clients seek professional advice at an earliest stages of any potentially valuable innovations.
For free, no-obligation preliminary advice and cost estimates relating to your new product or invention, please complete our Technical Disclosure Form.