What is a Patent?

The most common form of legal protection for a new invention is a patent, which protects an invention from third party infringement for 20 years from the date of application. The patent itself will cover a detailed description of the main features of the invention, along with a method of use.

The application process can be long as it involves many stages so that the governing body can be assured that the invention meets the necessary criteria. These criteria state that the new invention would need to:

  • Involve an inventive step – an idea is considered to be inventive if it would not be obvious to an individual of ordinary skill in the art
  • Be considered novel – this relates to whether or not it has been done before
  • Have industrial applicability – this is deemed to be present when the device has a practical use.

There are three main types of patent application, the choice being dependent on which countries you wish to gain protection in.

These types are:

  • UK Application,
  • European Application and
  • PCT (Patent Co-operation Treaty) Application.