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About Patents

A patent is a legal monopoly giving the owner the right to stop third parties from making, selling, importing or otherwise using an invention without permission.

A patentable invention must be new and have an inventive step at the time of filing a patent application. This means that the principle or idea of the invention must not have been disclosed to the public even by the inventor.

If these conditions are met, and you want to stop others from unauthorised use of your idea, it would be worth considering a patent application.

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Making an Initial Patent Application

Your first step will probably be to file an application at the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (Patent Office). This application must contain a description of the invention and drawings if appropriate.

TPT always includes one or more "claims" defining the scope of your invention and usually recommends filing the "Request for Search and Preliminary Examination." This must in any event be filed within the first year.

When the result of the search is received we can study this together and discuss any improvements or modifications that you have made in the meantime.

Armed with the results of the search you should now be in a position to decide whether to proceed with your UK application and whether to apply for international protection.

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Patent Protection Abroad

If you require patent protection abroad to protect your export markets or manufacturing interests abroad, this can be done in three different ways:-

  1. Filing separate patent applications in each country where protection is required,
  2. Filing a European Patent Application designating several European countries,
  3. Filing a so-called "International" or PCT Patent Application designating a number of countries, including Europe.

No matter which route is chosen, under an international convention to which virtually all industrialised countries subscribe, any foreign patent applications filed within the first year of your initial application can be treated as having effectively been filed as of the original British filing date. This is called "claiming priority."

After the first year, the next important point will probably be publication