In order to be awarded a patent, an invention must be ‘novel’ and ‘inventive’ at the date it is filed. The invention must also be industrially applicable.
To be patentable, an invention must be new. This means that no invention with exactly the same set of features has been made available, anywhere in the world, before the filing date of your patent application.
- Inventive Step
As well as being new, the invention must also be non-obvious. This means that the new features of the invention would not have been obvious to a person working in that technical area if they were trying to solve the same problem.
- Industrial applicability
This means that the invention has a technical purpose and is useful in some way.
Patents are granted in the UK by the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO). An application must be submitted to the UKIPO that clearly sets out the invention. This must include:
- a description of your invention that enables others to understand how it works
- a set of legal statements that explain the key features of the invention that you’re seeking to protect — these are known as the ‘claims’
- a set of drawings to illustrate the invention
The claims are the most important part of your patent application and will define the scope of protection provided. If they’re not prepared correctly, the patent may not provide the protection you need, which could leave your competitors free to develop the same, or a very similar, invention.
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