As a business, it is vital that you have the right sort of Intellectual Property (IP) protection to stop others from copying or stealing your business name, brand or design of your products. Patents are the branch of IP that protects your inventions – including how they work, what they are made of and how they are made.
If you think you need to patent your invention, speak to Worcestershire Business Central today for advice on what to do next.
Is a Patent Right for your Product?
Before applying for a patent for your product there are a few things you will need to consider – such as:
- Does the product already exist? – to patent an invention you need to make sure it is unique. You would be surprised at how many products are already out there, even if you haven’t heard of them, so do your research first before spending time, effort and money on a patent application.
- Will you make enough money from it? – getting and keeping a granted patent is expensive and time-consuming so you will need to ensure the profits you expect to gain from your product far outweigh these investments and that you have the time and finances to enforce your patent if granted.
How to Patent a Product
If you know that your product is unique and have a solid business plan for making money from it, then you can move on to the next step. This may involve:
- Asking everyone involved in the idea/business to sign a confidentiality agreement – this is to prevent them from making your ideas public which could mean your patent is not granted.
- Seeking professional advice – from a patent attorney or professional IP advisor who can help you decide whether a patent is the best way to protect your invention.
- Filing your patent application with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) – this will include written descriptions, illustrations and a summary of the technical features of your invention.
If your application meets all the formal requirements, the IPO will grant your patent. This will be at least 18 months after the date of filing and more likely to be around 2-4 years after the application. After your patent is granted you will be responsible for enforcing it and paying annual renewal fees to ensure protection continues.
Need more information?
If you need help deciding whether a patent is the best way to protect your business idea, please contact Worcestershire Business Central today. Additionally, the Intellectual Property Office on the GOV.UK website has lots of information that may be of use. Click here to find out more.