Protect your invention – Patent it!
By Roland Romata
Patent rights and disputes have appeared frequently in the headlines lately. Almost every form media has mentioned or discussed the latest patent ‘war’ between Apple and Samsung regarding various inventions.
Patent is a formal and universal way for an inventor to prevent others exploiting their invention. Applying for a patent is a lengthy and a relatively expensive process. Therefore, it is highly recommended to consult a specialist intellectual property solicitor or a patent agent prior an application. There are strict requirements for an invention to become patentable. For example, they will have to be new, have an inventive nature and be used in some kind of industry in order to be tangible. I have dealt with cases where people wanted to patent ideas related to presentation of information, using a new computer program. This falls outside of the protection of a patent and should be protected via copyright.
Do I need a patent?
Whether or not you need a patent will depend on your idea, situation and most importantly your plan. I have dealt with several cases where the inventors wanted to patent the idea just before they entered into a marketing discussion with major firms. As obtaining patent is a very lengthy and expensive process, it is never suitable for cases like this. When you have an idea but you want some protection for negotiations, it is advisable to have a non-disclosure agreement drawn up by a specialist solicitor. They are quick, considerably cheaper and will prevent the other party from doing anything with the information presented to them.
UK, EU, or International Patent?
Of course, this is a question that cannot be answered by this article. When a patent is obtained in the UK it will be enforceable within the UK only. Of course, if an invention is likely to be used in other countries then it is certainly advisable to extend the patent to that country. Extending a patent within the EU can be done via the European Patent Office where the application process is similar to the UK. It is important to know that a patent will only be enforceable in countries where it has been granted. This is the very reason why Apple and Samsung have had different legal applications in Australia and Germany. The two applications are separate and based on the given countries legal system.
If you have an invention but not sure what protection you will need, just contact one of our experienced case handlers and we will be able to talk you through this. The service is fully confidential and, if needed, we can put you in touch with a specialist solicitor.
Roland Romata is one of Contact Law’s most knowledgeable case handlers with extensive experience in this matter from dealing with clients on a day-to-day basis.
- Last Updated on 23/11/2012