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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.

As soon as you apply for a Patent you can describe your idea as "Patent Pending". When your patent is granted it will be backdated to the application date. See our "How to Apply for a Patent " page for more details.

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) you can use the same patent application in multiple countries. See our FAQ page on Patents for more details.

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.

2. It must have a new feature that is not obvious to somebody who knows about the technology involved.   

3. It must be capable of being used in a practical device that can be used for a practical purpose. 

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. For more details about patents see our Patent FAQ page.

See the Patent Office Video about Patents movie_icon