Because a patent is the most expensive and complex type of IP (intellectual property) right, first analyse whether you can protect your IP with copyright, a trademark, or a service mark, or by keeping it under wraps as a trade secret.

If you and your IP professional decide that a patent is the way to go, and you have the time and money to see the process through to the conclusion, here’s the patent process in a nutshell:

  1. Make sure the invention is really yours and doesn’t belong to your boss, your spouse, or your business partner.

  2. Do a patent search to make sure that no one else has already come up with your formula, process or invention.

  3. Check that your invention passes the test – it’s new, and wouldn’t be obvious to someone knowledgeable in the field.

  4. Prepare a patent application, including:

    • A short abstract of the invention

    • The claims

    • A description and accompanying drawings, if applicable

    • A brief description of each figure of the drawing

    • A brief discussion of the general field, background and circumstances of the invention

    • A summary of the invention

    • References to any prior applications

  5. File your patent application, paying special attention to filing deadlines.

  6. Prevent publication of your application if you’re not ready to proceed due to commercial considerations.

  7. If you allow your application to publish, pursue and prosecute your application through the UK-IPO.

  8. Appeal adverse decisions of the Examiner.

  9. Get the patent granted.

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Patents, Registered Designs, Trade Marks and Copyright For Dummies Cheat Sheet (UK Edition)

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