Why Obtain a Patent
Written by Michael Coyle on 31 October 2007« Return to Reading Room
Intellectual Property Solicitors
A patent is an exclusive right awarded to an inventor (or his/her employer) by the government for a 20 year period in reward for inventing a product which adds something to a particular art. A patent rewards the inventor in that he/she can obtain the fruits of his/her invention in exchange for disclosing the nature of the invention to the public.
Before a patent will be granted it is important to determine whether your invention is new. In determining whether you invention is new it is first essential to identify what the invention is!
Being able to commercially exploit your invention is essential to ensuring that you are rewarded for the time and expense in creating something which is novel to the particular art. However, where there is money to be made others will seek to profit at your expense.
Patent protection provides you with an exclusive right to prevent third parties from using your invention. Similarly you can ensure those who exploit your invention with your permission do so under your terms. A patent will also place you in a stronger position should you need to take a particular matter before the court, infringement of your patent may entitle you to damages. In many situations litigation is the last resort and the mere fact that you have a Patent registered at the Patent Office will be sufficient to deter potential infringers.
Patent legislation requires that to secure a patent over you invention, the invention must be New,ie your invention must have never been made known to the public. This means the public within the UK, Europe or worldwide prior to the date for filing the patent application.
It must also have an Inventive Step. To identify whether your invention involves an inventive step it will be compared with the prior art, i.e. what is already know by the public, and whether your invention would be deemed to be obvious to someone skilled in the particular industry to which the invention relates.
Finally it must serve a commercial purpose. This does not usually cause too many problems as most inventions are made for a purpose, which is usually for commercial reasons. It must therefore be shown that your invention is capable of being made/used in some kind of industry. Your invention does not have to form part of a machine or the manufacture of a particular article but must have some application to a particular industry and not merely something which is specifically related to intellectual or aesthetic activities.
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