How can I get patent in UK for my invention, Product, software or concept ?
This is most common question raised in mind of anyone who becomes interested in protection of their innovative ideas / invention. So how to get patent in UK is the question that comes from every sector, age, industry and domain you can imagine. You may be,
An entrepreneur : with an idea, concept or innovative product to be patented
A research student: with the research project that you are working on to be patented
Professional (employee): with a new innovative software, mechanical device or chemical compositions to be patented
Student: with an intent to learn more about getting patent in us for your innovative ideas and products
A business owner: with new product or a new way of solving a problem in business to be patented
Probably you are influenced by reading about patent and news or articles like millions of dollars are raised by an innovative startup which has a granted patent or patent pending for their unique invention.
And that made you think whether that idea you have in your mind is really worth winning a patent?
You may get a lot of information on many places online, blogs, websites, books etc. but its not always very clear to the reader as every person in coming from different background, motivations and mindsets. Moreover, just like any other law, patent law also involved certain degree of complexity, So best advice would be,
Writing a patent application in UK (patent drafting) is a specialized job and it requires years of practice and experience especially when we are talking about writing claims for the patent application.
Patent is a Techno-Legal document, the commonly observed mistake by inventors writing patent application on their own is writing it consideration to technical side only (like a PHD thesis).
what is patent and how can we protect your invention by means of patent?
As per definition “The patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention” In other words, if you have an invention like
new and technical solution to a problem
a novel product or process
a new way of achieving better results with some technical advance
Having a patent on you name for an invention gives you the right to decide if the invention can be used by others and on what terms… In return for this right, the patent owner makes the technical information about invention publically available in the form of patent. Having a granted patent in US for your invention gives you right to exclude others from
offering for sale,
selling” the invention in the United Kingdom
“importing” the invention into the United Kingdom
Point to be remembered here is: it is right to exclude others!!! That is you can stop others... hence it is your (patent owners) responsibility to enforce the patent, and stop others from copying your patented invention without your consent or permission (something called patent infringement).
Cost, time line and Procedure to get patent in UK
How much is the cost of getting patent in UK ? There is no precise and accurate answer to this question as cost for obtaining patent is dependent on multiple factors... What best we can have is range for costs involved in...
There are two elements for cost of getting patent in UK:
The costs for Patent Office (UK) fees for Forms, requests and renewals.
Professional Charges for patent professional, patent agent / attorney
lets see these fees and charges involved in getting patent in UK in step by step, detailed and easy to understand manner as below:
Before we proceed, One thing (question) most certainly hits inventors mind at least once in the process of getting patent for his invention that is
To get quick and self evident answer to your question, check our section on Why Patent Attorney charges so much fees just to write my patent application in right format?
As a matter of fact Patent attorney Professional charges is the most expensive component which drastically varies based on complexity of the invention to be patented, field of invention and the experience of the patent attorney.
Government fees too, are different for an individual inventor, micro entities, small entities and large entities. and fees for patent application also defers based on number of claims and charges for professional drawings etc...
So, a lot of factors need to be considered when talking about costs involved in getting patent in UK.
Yet to give you an idea, the cost to get patent in UK is approximately £3,000 to £6,000. This is assuming that you have hired an experienced patent attorney in UK who is right fit for your patent requirement for patent research, writing and filing patent application for your invention. Selecting Right patent attorney for your invention at right cost can be more complex process than you would have imagined.
you can check quick guideline about the process of selecting right patent attorney in UK for your invention.
Stage wise procedure and Cost for getting patent in UK
The cost requires in stages as your invention proceeds from Novelty Search (about £ 500), Patent drafting and filing in US (about £5,000) and after 1 to 2 years for responding to office actions if any objections are taken by controller in examination report on application about your invention, such response to office actions typically requires (about £1000).
Here is how you will need charges as per stages in patent filing. We are assuming you have hired a patent attorney helping you with patent filing.
Stage 1: invention disclosure
This is initial phase when you (inventor) disclose your invention to the patent attorney you selected to work with by signing a Non disclosure agreement. This agreement is to ensure the confidentiality of your invention and there are no charges for signing NDA.
When writing Invention disclosure for your invention you should submit each know fact about your invention, description diagrams and experimental results (if any). Hold nothing back. The disclosure of the invention must be
described in substantial details
includes picture, flowcharts, diagrams where ever applicable
Optionally includes experimental data proving novelty and non obviousness
Charts and tables about research and development
This helps patent attorney in patent research as well as drafting process.
Stage 2: Novelty search / Patentability search
In this phase, patent professional performed an extensive search for prior art in all possible databases for patent, articles, thesis etc... And builds a patentability search report based on closest prior art found for your invention.
Although an optional step, Doing novelty search for your invention can really save you thousands of pounds for involving in patent process for an invention which is not novel and already known to public.
Cost: the charges for conducting novelty search are in the range of £500 to £1000
Time required: it takes about 2 to 5 working days for a researcher to complete novelty search
Patent attorney generally prefers to have independent opinion about the novelty search so most of them outsource it to a patent researcher.
Stage 3: Opinion about patentability
Upon receiving the novelty search report for your invention, next step is a critical review by patent attorney to build an opinion about patentability of your invention. Here the cost defers based on complexity of invention and number of closely associated prior arts found in the research. This opinion tells you (inventor) whether the invention is patentable or not. In other words, it answers the question regarding whether to proceed with the patent filing process or not!!!
Cost: the cost for providing patentability opinion ranges from £200 to £500
Time required: The time required for providing patentability opinion ranges from 3-4 hours to couple of days based on complexity of invention and prior arts cited in the novelty search report
Stage 4: Decide whether to file patent application or not
On reviewing the patentability search report and discovered closest prior arts for your invention you can take a decision whether to go ahead with patent application filing. Your patentability opinion should be positive, that is, your invention needs to have “inventive step” as compared with existing prior art to be able to qualify for a patent.
When you decide to go ahead with patent filing next step is writing patent application also called as patent drafting.
Stage 5: Patent writing or patent drafting
drafting Patent application in UK:
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Drafting a patent application is a specialized job and requires both technical (field of invention) and legal (UK patent law) understanding.
As you may have heard, patent is a techno-legal document. Many inventors trying to write patent application on their own writes it from completely technical perspective. Writing patent application as a technical document without considering legal aspect may be a mistake which can make your application not worth a lot. And all the efforts you took for research and development can go waste.
Hence, right patent attorney (patent agent) with appropriate experience can remarkably add value to your patent application.
If you are still confused and thinking whether you would be saving few thousands of dollars by writing and filing your patent application on your own (without help of patent attorney) you need to read section on do I really need to hire patent attorney for writing and filing patent application ?
Patent drafting is the step where the real skills of a patent attorney come in to play as patent drafting is:
the most time consuming
and skillful task that requires years of experience in technology as well as patent law
This is indeed the most important step in entire life cycle of Patent for protection of your invention.
Cost: The cost for drafting a patent application in UK varies in a great deal as it is dependent on multiple factors like field of invention and complexity and the cost can range from £2000 to £5000.
Time required: it takes about 1 to 2 weeks time for patent attorney to draft an application for an invention. It certainly can take more time based on complexity, length of description and availability of patent attorney.
Stage 6: Filing Patent application
The UK application fee currently costs between £230-280. Filing an initial application. The Intellectual Property Office charges £30 or £20 for e-filing . There is no fee to request for grant of patent.
When you done with the review of patent drafted and satisfied with the scope and technical details in the patent application, you can file the patent application at patent office, with appropriate forms with appropriate fees.
Publication of patent application occurs after the expiration of an 18-month period following the earliest effective filing date or priority date claimed by an application.
Stage 7: Patent Examination
The patent application is published up on expiry of 18 months from the filing date.
Within 12 months from the filing date , you need to request for search by paying for a preliminary search (£150 for a paper request or £130 if e-filed), after which you receive a search report.
Within six months of publication of the patent application, you need to request for examination paying for a full examination (£100 for a paper request or £80 if e-filed)
In this stage patent examiners at UK patent office conduct their own search related to your invention (patent application) and issue and office action.
Stage 8: Office action
Office action contains the objections raised about your patent application by patent examiner, which can range from variety of objections. You (inventor) has a chance to respond to objection and put your side in-front of examiner, this is something called "response to office actions" in most of the cases the response is drafted with the help of your patent attorney.
This is a chance for an inventor to communicate his novelty or inventive step over prior arts found in the examination report. The inventor and patent patent attorney create and send a response to the office action that tries to prove that his invention is indeed patentable and satisfies all patentability criteria’s.
About 1 year 6 months Review International search report and decide whether to proceed with full International Examination. Typically costs £600 to £1,500 depending on the prior arts cited in the search report.
or optionally modifies the claims accepting objections raised, that is the applicant may amend the patent application as specifically required by the examiner and proceed with the grant of patent.
The patent attorney charges anything from £200 to £1000 for response to office action.
Stage 9: Grant of Patent
The patent is granted to you (inventor) if it is found to be meeting all patentability requirements !!! or it may be rejected if it happen to be not meeting patentability criterias.
If a patent application is found to be in order of grant a Notice of Allowance and Fee(s) Due will be sent to the applicant, or to applicant’s patent attorney. a fee for issuing the patent and if applicable, for publishing the patent application publication.
Stage 10: Renewal of patent fees
Once the patent is granted, it will be valid for up to 20 years from the date of filing the application. Inventor required to pay a maintenance fees periodically (as mentioned below) to maintain patent in force.
You pay renewal fees from the fourth anniversary of that date, currently starting at £70 for year five and rising to £600 for year 20.
You must renew your patent on the fourth anniversary of when you filed for it. You then need to renew every year near the ‘due date’ - the last day of the month in which you first filed. You need to renew up to 3 months before, or within 1 month after, the due date to avoid late payment fees. You can renew up to 6 months after the due date but you’ll have to pay £24 on top of the renewal fee for each extra month.
You can renew your patent for up to a maximum of 20 years.
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Congratulations !!! Now you know steps involved in getting patent in UK for your invention along with stages and costs.
You may also like to consider reading a guideline on deciding is it really worth to go ahead for patent for your invention ?
Associated with leading Intellectual Property firm in India called Khurana & Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorneys (K&K). With team of 65+ Intellectual property (IP) professionals including patent agents, trademark agents and attorneys and offices at Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore, Successfully helping inventors and businesses in securing their Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) including Patents, Trademarks, Designs & Copyrights along with Contract & Commercial Matters.
Founder of Patent in India Platform with more than 11000 visitors every month, Patent in India platform continues to be leading patent consulting platform in India. http://patentinindia.com/