If you have an invention which is set to change life as we know it, the most important question to ask yourself is this – is it protected from anyone else stealing your idea and claiming it as their own? If the answer is ‘no’, then it’s time to look into the process of applying for a patent as this will stop theft and ensure that you can legally and rightfully call it your own.
If you aren’t sure of what a patent is and how it could save your invention from a competitor launching it instead of you, then read on.
What is a patent?
A patent protects your invention. It means you have the legal right to take action against anyone who – without your permission – makes, sells or uses your invention.
Granted for new products, goods and services, they are awarded for a set amount of time and to cover specific countries of the world. A UK patent for example would mean that someone further afield could copy the invention as their own and you would not have the protection required to take legal action.
What can – and cannont – be awarded a patent?
There are very specific rules regarding what will, or won’t be given a patent. The overall guidelines state it must be new, have an industrial use and not be a modification of an already existing item.
There are also strict rules regarding what will not count as being able to be awarded a patent. This includes:
- Artistic works such as plays, music or literary creations
- Scientific discoveries or theories
- New plants and seeds
- A way to treat a medical condition or how diagnosis takes place
When a patent is given
When a patent is awarded, it becomes your responsibility to take action if you feel your invention is being copied in any way. You also need to remember to renew when required; all patents expire after a set time depending on the part of the world they cover and if you don’t apply again, you become vulnerable. If you need to defend the patent at any time, you will need to have the funding in place to pay the legal fees.
The best way to apply for a patent
The application path for a patent can be long and complicated. It can take up to 5 years in some cases so it’s crucial to be prepared for a lengthy journey. Whilst this is taking place, confidentiality is key. Don’t tell others about your invention; until a decision has been made as to whether it qualifies for a patent then your product can still be copied and patented by someone else. If you need to speak to someone about it all; a business partner for example, request that they sign a confidentiality agreement first.
Applying for a patent isn’t something to undertake without speaking to an expert such as a patent lawyer from London IP. They can advise on your needs and guide you through the process. Having a world-changing invention is great, but if there’s the risk it can be stolen by a competitor then months or years of hard work are lost. Investigate patents today and stop the possibility of being commercially vulnerable.