I want to patent my idea what do I do now?
Request a free patent info pack on how to patent an idea. It includes information on the patent process, filing a patent application and approaching the UK patent office (IPO). To receive a pack, fill in your details on our Free Patenting Info Pack page. Please feel free to call us if the pack does not answer all your patenting questions.
How do I know you aren't going to steal my idea?
We send you two copies of a signed Confidentiality Agreement (in your free info pack) before you disclose the idea to us. This is a legally binding agreement that prevents us from disclosing the idea to any third party. Each party retains one copy of the agreement signed by both parties. We also adhere to the regulations of the BSI standards governing our industry: BS8538:2011 Specification for the provision of services relating to the commercialisation of intellectual property rights.
Can't I just put my idea in front of industry now?
The idea needs to look credible and well presented to stand a chance in gaining the confidence of the industry. It also ideally needs to be protected. You only get one chance and the presentation should not be underestimated. Companies are more likely to support an idea if they can see it has been thought through and properly developed. Protection can also improve a product’s chance at market.
How do Innovate make money?
We have a variety of services we provide all with upfront costs. Once quoted, you are under no obligation to use our services and there are never any hidden costs. This allows the inventor to maintain 100% ownership of the intellectual property.
How much is all this going to cost?
The cost varies from project to project. Once you have received an information pack, send your idea to us and we will complete the free initial review to ascertain what potential costs may be associated with your project in moving it forward.
Can I get help financing the project?
Possibly. Firstly you would need to know what costs there may be in developing the project so you can calculate the funding level required. It will also depend at which stage you require funding and what opportunities are available to your project. A Client Manager can advise you on this. Innovate do not fund any projects themselves.
I have conducted a Google search and I am sure my idea doesn’t exist; do I still need to do a Patent Search?
Yes. You can never be certain your idea does not exist based on market searches. Patent searches include all applications ever filed, whether granted or not, as these all affect your application. This means that not all patent applications are marketed products.
Can I patent my business idea?
No. You cannot patent a business idea unless it involves a new product idea. You also cannot patent a scientific or mathematical discovery, theory or method; a way of playing a game; a book, drama, piece of music or artistic work.
Can I patent software?
Not in the UK. It is not possible to patent software unless there is a product involved. The exception to the rule is America, where software can be patented – for more information on this seek the advice of a patent attorney. Software is usually covered by Copyright which is an automatic right assigned to any written or recorded work.
Can I patent a website idea?
No. The patent system exists to protect inventions or products and not websites.
What does 'patent pending' mean?
“Patent Pending” means that an application for a patent has been filed at the UK Intellectual Property Office (previously known as the Patent Office). It is the same as “Patent Applied For.” There are laws preventing people using these phrases if it is not true. These phrases do not mean that the patent has been granted nor does it mean that it will be granted.
Can I get a worldwide patent
No. The most far reaching international patent application is the PCT which covers 142 countries.
Why bother filing a patent application? I hear patents cost a lot to defend.
Patent protection is by no means perfect and protection of a patent can be costly.  Patents are however viewed as the strongest form of intellectual property and often even the presence of a granted or pending patent will be enough to warn others off stealing your idea.
Why is a patent so expensive?
A patent specification is a legal document that explains an idea and argues for its novelty and inventiveness.  This can be filed as an application.  Filing it as an application in the UK costs only around £250 and after this sum you might obtain a granted UK patent. Other countries will cost more, particularly where translation and foreign agents need to be involved. The high cost will typically lie in the drafting of the specification, as patent lawyers are highly trained professionals.  You can however draft the specification yourself, although as a legal document it is best to involve professionals at some stage to ensure you do not waste your ideas.
How long does a patent last?
The patent can be maintained for a maximum of twenty years.
What is a confidentiality agreement?
This is a legally binding document that protects your idea. We will never ask for details of an idea until one of these has been completed and signed by ourselves and the inventor. It means we cannot take the idea further without the permission of the inventor. For more information please see what is a confidentiality agreement?
What is intellectual property (IP)?
Intellectual Property is the overall term that refers to all forms of idea protection: patents, design rights, copyright and trade marks. Intellectual Property law can assign certain rights to the creator of: music, literature, artistic works, discoveries, inventions, designs and logos. In its literal sense, it is the property of your mind, or intellect, and, as such, can be claimed as your own and used in a similar way to commercial property: Intellectual Property can be bought, sold, licensed and even mortgaged. The UK Patent Office is now called the UK Intellectual Property Office to affirm that they help with all forms of idea protection in the UK – not just patents!