FAQs: 1. What is a patent?

A patent is a piece of intellectual property (IP) that protects technical innovation. If you have a patent for your product, process, system (or part of it), you can stop your competitors from doing the same for up to twenty years.

What is the difference between patents and other registered IP?

Patents protect technical innovation.  This technical innovation must have at least one novel technical feature and that novel technical feature must involve a so-called “inventive step”, i.e. it must be more than just an obvious workshop modification of what is already known. However, it does not need to be an enormous scientific breakthrough.  In fact, taking terminology directly from the case law on the subject of inventiveness, a “scintilla” of inventiveness can be sufficient for an invention to be patentable, and part of the invention can even lie in the identification of the problem it purports to solve, even if the solution could then be said to be “obvious”.  So, it  is important not to dismiss something as “obvious” and, therefore, not patentable, before this has been properly assessed.  If your product or process has at least one novel technical feature, and that technical novelty is important in some way to your USP, then it is worth exploring whether or not patent protection would be the best way to protect it. For more information on inventive step or “obviousness”, see our blog The Truth About Obviousness.

Registered Designs protect the appearance of a product, rather than any underlying technical concept.  If there is something distinctive about the outward appearance of your product, or if a lot of design effort has gone into the way something looks, then registered design protection may be appropriate.

Registered trade marks protect your “badge of origin”, i.e. the names and logos you use to identify your company, brand and business offering(s).  These can be incredibly important because if someone else uses the same names or logos to identify their products, then it might not only put a dent in your own revenue stream, but if the competitor’s business offering is inferior to yours, it could also damage your reputation.

What are the benefits of having a patent?

Well, apart from giving you the ability to stop your competitors from muscling in on your market share, it can have other significant benefits, such as helping to secure funding (including R&D tax credits), and the ability to claim Patent Box tax relief.

Need Help?

There are numerous reasons why patents can benefit your business as you grow, and we can help you to decide whether to patent or not to patent…book your free consultation today.

Call: +44(0)7714797135

email: vicki.strachan@strachanip.co.uk

wesbite: https://strachanip.co.uk/contact/

or just book a mutually convenient meeting via the

Calendly link: https://calendly.com/strachan-ip-a-fresh-view-of-intellectual-property/30min

Final note: if you want to secure patent protection for your invention, you must not disclose the invention to anyone, except in the strictest of confidence, unless and until a UK patent application has been filed.

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