UK patents can be expensive and some are difficult to acquire (or enforce).
The patents step by step guide is a good place to start if this will be the first time you are patenting a novel idea.
A different section explains the full process of patenting your invention with details on important topics, such as:
- Which supporting documents you would need to prepare. Note that the TOTAL file size for uploading PDFs for a UK patent application is 20MB.
- Paying for a patent search and a ‘substantive examination‘ (if you are going to include them in your application).
Note: The online services of the European Patent Office is for registering frequent European patents (including inside the United Kingdom). In this case, you would also need to set up an IPO deposit account to pay them.
Paying Patent Application Fees
You can either pay patent application fees online, using a credit or debit card, or you can make a payment using an IPO account.
There is an option to request and pay for the search and examination after you apply. But, if you wait to pay the application fee it will cost extra.
Note: You would need to apply by postal methods to make a payment by bank transfer, cash, or by cheque. Be aware that the fees for doing so are a somewhat higher.
The Intellectual Property Office Service
If you apply for a patent online you will need to supply an email address into the system. It is not uncommon for the IPO service to be unavailable between the hours of 1am and 3am (United Kingdom time).
Note: You can only apply for a UK patent using the Intellectual Property Office service if the invention is not any kind of military technology or it would not harm national security. The IPO carry out national security checks on patent applications.
Applying for a UK Patent by Post or Fax
There is a specific form to send an application by postal methods or by fax. You would need to fill in patent form 1 to request the grant of a patent.
The guide on patenting your invention explains how to send the supporting documents and request a search and examination at the same time as an application. Or, you can choose to send them up to twelve (12) months later.
Fill in all the relevant forms and send them with a standard fee sheet (and the correct payment amount) to:
Intellectual Property Office (IPO)
Intellectual Property Office
Telephone: 01633 817 777