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Patent Basics

What is a patent?

A granted monopoly which covers ideas and inventions.
They are concerned with
How things work
How they are made
What they are made of

Patents must be (criteria)
Novel (new)
Inventive (non-obvious)
Industrially applicable (useful)
Sufficiently described

Confidentiality prior to filing is essential

Registered and ‘Unregistered’ Rights

Registered Rights
A formally granted right issued by a specific country’s patent office
Must meet the criteria identified
A recognised monopoly for a set number of years
Technology publicly disclosed (published)

‘Unregistered’ Rights
Known as a trade secret
Trade secrets can cover more than ideas and inventions
Must follow strict protocol to ensure confidentiality
Must have a financial benefit
Technology on a need to know basis
Knowledge kept within the company

What is patentable?

Anything which makes a technical contribution provided it meets the criteria.
Can cover a Product or Process
Product : covers the end result – what is produced
Process: covers how the end result is made
Can have one patent which includes both product and process, can have two separate patents, one for product and one for process or only a patent covering one of the elements.
They can be owned by different people

Examples of what is NOT patentable
Scientific or mathematical discoveries, theories or methods
A literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work
Schemes, rules or methods for performing a mental act
Methods of medical treatment or diagnosis
A way of playing a game
A business method unless it involves a technical innovation
An animal or plant variety
Against public policy or morality

Why Apply for a Patent

Recognised and formally granted right
Easier to enforce than trade secrets/unregistered right
Easier to commercialise (license, sell)
Defensive
Tax benefits (patent box, R&D credit)

How long will it last

20 years from filing for most countries provided the renewals fees due are paid.
Renewals are generally due annually on the anniversary of the filing date. A notable exception is the US where patent renewals fees are due at 3.5, 7.5 and 11.5 years.

General Patent Timeline

  • Confidentiality

  • Filing

  • Search (6 -9 months)

  • Publication (18 months)

  • Substantive examination

  • Acceptance

  • Grant

  • Renewal *

  • Expiry

* In some countries renewals are payable before grant while the application is pending

Want to find out more about Patent Basics?

Feel free to contact us, we’re happy to help!

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Disclamer: This document is for general information only. Its content is not a statement of the law on any subject and does not constitute advice. Please contact Pure Ideas for advice before taking any action in reliance on it.

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