The UK Rules
Patent an Invention

Patenting Your Invention or Creation

A patented invention allows the owner to take legal action against anyone who tries to import, make, sell, or use it without their permission.

Find out how to patent your invention, how the application process works, and what happens after you register a patent in the United Kingdom.

What Inventions Can be Patented in the UK

Not all inventions or creations can, or will, be granted a patent. To qualify, ALL the following must apply:

Some examples of patented items include cell phones and the artificial heart valve (first invented by Charles A. Hufnagel).

Note: Patents can be expensive and difficult to acquire. It is wise to check whether a patent is suitable for your business before you apply for it (details below).

Things that You Cannot Patent

There are certain types of invention that cannot be granted a patent in the United Kingdom. They include things like:

Before Applying for a Patent

Patenting your invention will be not be an easy form of protection to get for your business. That's why you should always check if it will be right before applying.

So, as a general rule you should only apply for a patent if:

Note: Having considered the basics of patenting your new invention, if you decide to apply you may find that the application process is:

Note: There are other things to consider... even if you get the patent. The owner would need to renew a patent each year to keep it valid. The cost of defending an infringement could be high if you need to take legal action.

Alternative Ways of Protecting Intellectual Property

There may be other methods you can use to protect your intellectual property. For example, it may well be more appropriate for your particular business to:

Where to Get Free Help and Advice

There are several ways of getting help to determine whether a patent is going to be right for your business. For example, you might get free and confidential advice from:

This part is important:

You should keep the information on these types of intellectual properties a secret until they get registered. You can use a non-disclosure agreement, a patent attorney, or a solicitor if you need to discuss it with someone.


Applying for a Patent

Understanding how to register a patent is important if you decide to apply for patent protection. Further details in the section also explain:

  • Eight steps to follow during the application process
  • Other ways to get a UK patent granted
  • How to prepare the 4 parts needed for patent criteria
  • How to complete a 'statement of inventorship'

Requesting a Search and Examination

There are strict rules on when and how to request your search and examination. You can also find extra information on:

  • How the IPO check if an invention is new (substantive examination)
  • Which documents to submit, when to file them, and where to send them

After Applying for a Patent

There are several important actions to be aware of after filing your patent application. You may need to file more documents once the patent is pending.

International Patents

Patent protection of your invention only applies in the country where the patent is actually registered. Find out how international patents work and how to file a patent abroad to get international protection.

Patenting an Invention or Creation in United Kingdom