A guide to intellectual property rights – patents

25th March 2015

Patents provide inventors with a legally protectable monopoly over their inventions and protect new and inventive technical features of products and processes. They can also provide inventors with the opportunity to profit from their creations.

Martin de Ridder, solicitor in the dispute resolution and employment teams at Ansons Solicitors in Cannock, explains what you need to know about patents and legal advice on how you can apply for one.

To qualify for patent protection, an invention must:

  • be new;
  • involve an inventive step;
  • be capable of industrial application; and
  • not be specifically excluded from protection. For example, methods of doing business.

It is necessary to file an application to get a patent, normally with the patent office of the country where the inventor works. In the UK this is the Intellectual Property Office. Applications must be drafted correctly and carefully by a solicitor who has expert knowledge in design and trademark law. As patents can typically take between three to four years to be granted, it is crucial to get the right advice throughout the process.

Once accepted a patent can provide a high level of protection, which is essential for some industries. This is the case for pharmaceuticals where years of research and development are necessary to commercialise a new product.

However, patents only last for a limited period, 20 years in most countries, and are expensive to obtain as well as maintain – especially if you apply for an international patent. Patents also involve public disclosure of technology, which could enable a competitor to develop a competing product without infringing the patent.

Ansons Solicitors, based in Staffordshire, can advise you on creating a maintainable patent strategy, licensing and application, as well as help you take effective enforcement action should your patent be infringed.

If you need advice on patenting your invention, contact Martin de Ridder to discuss protection of your intellectual property rights on 01543 431 186 or email Ansons Solicitors has offices in Cannock and Lichfield, Staffordshire.