Key Facts about Patents
Patents are used to protect an idea like a gadget or a chemical formula. Once a patent has been granted it means that you have twenty years exclusive rights to use and sell the idea. You can stop anyone else selling products based on the idea in the country where the patent has been granted.
To find out if your idea can be patented just click on the Free Pack button above to get a Pack including our Confidentiality Agreement. You don't need to have a prototype to apply for a patent. Just a clear description.
You can then enter the details online or email them back to us. Our free services include a Patent Search Tool.
We can research your idea and if it is unique we may be able to help you commercialise it. See our How to Apply for a Patent page to see how to do it.
Generally speaking a patent can only be granted for a single country so there is no such thing as a worldwide patent. However under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), to which most countries have agreed, you can use the same patent application in multiple countries.
For a patent to be granted the idea must satisfy the following conditions;
1. It must be a new idea that does not exist already anywhere in the world. We can confirm this with a Patent Search.
2. It must have a new feature that is not obvious to somebody who knows about the technology involved. We can provide Technical Advice.
3. It must be capable of being used in a practical device that can be used for a practical purpose. We can provide Commercial Advice.
4. It must not be an excluded subject such as a mathematical formula or software or something that occurs in nature. Software is protected by Copyright
For more information on Patent Applications and Guides see our Patent Office page.