The UK Rules

The Patent Registration Process in UK

Understanding how to register a patent will be important if you decide to apply for patent protection. Registration would take place through the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

Follow a simple checklist explaining how to prepare your application. There will be fees to pay but you can choose to apply for a patent online or by post.

Applying for a Patent in the United Kingdom

The first step, which should take place before you apply, is to check whether a patent is right for your business.

As a rule, you will need a patent attorney (or advisor) to help you:

Note: It is commonplace for companies to approach with offers of promoting the invention (for a fee). So, always seek independent legal or financial advice before agreeing to this kind of arrangement.

A patent attorney or advisor will guide you through the whole patent application process. But, you should prepare for costs around £4,000 and a timescale of up to five (5) years for completion.

There is a set procedure to follow when applying for patent protection in United Kingdom. The actual registration takes place with the Intellectual Property Office in Newport, South Wales.

Here's how it works:

  1. Carry out your search for a patent to ensure the invention does not already exist.
  2. Prepare the 4 parts of a patent application needed to meet specific criteria (details below).
  3. File the patent application, pay the fees, and request your search and examination from the IPO.
  4. It will take around six (6) months to get the results of your search report. You would then need to decide whether to continue with the patent application.
  5. The IPO will publish the application 18 months after it gets filed.
  6. Make a request for a 'substantive examination' within six (6) months of publication.
  7. Give your response to IPO comments on the results of the exam. In fact, an examination can take place several years after filing an application.
  8. The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) will either grant or refuse the application after you apply.

Note: Revealing an invention to the public before applying for patent protection risks losing the chance of getting it granted. You can choose to license, mortgage, or sell a patent for commercial benefit once it becomes valid.

Other Methods of Filing a UK Patent

There are several other ways to get patent protection in the United Kingdom. You may choose to file a UK patent application via:

How to Prepare Your Patent Application

In most cases, there are four (4) separate parts to prepare for a patent application. Each component will need to meet a specific criteria.

You would need to include:

  1. A description of the invention that allows others to see how it could be made and how it actually works.
  2. Claims (legal statements) setting out the technical features of the creation that will get patent protection.
  3. The 'abstract'. This is a summary of all the important technical aspects of the invention.
  4. It is best to include drawings that illustrate, or add to, the description.

The submission of the description, and any specific drawings, should go along with the patent application form.

You can choose to file forms and documents for an existing UK patent (e.g. claims and abstract) once the process is ongoing. But, it is a better practice to submit all the parts at the same time and together.

Note: Submitting a description of more than 35 pages, or including 25+ claims, will affect the fee charges. The IPO patent fact sheets provide further instructions on how to produce each part of an application.

Sending Academic Papers

Part of your patent application can include academic papers. Often, doing so helps to describe the invention. Even so, you must still send the claims, a description, and drawings.

Completing a 'Statement of Inventorship'

As a rule, you would need to complete a statement of inventorship if you are not the actual inventor, or:

The main purpose of the statement is to provide the IPO with extra information about the identity of the inventor. It also informs them of why you have the right to apply for the patent on their behalf.

You can submit a 'statement of inventorship':

Applying for a Patent Online

You can apply for a patent with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) either online, by post, or by fax. You can also request and pay for your search and examination at the same time or after you apply.

Table of Current Patent Fees

Note: There is an extra fee to renew a patent which keeps the intellectual property protection valid and in force.

Accelerated Procedures for Patent Applications

IPO will process an application quicker if you request your search and examination at the same time as applying. The cost is the same as making separate applications, but they would get processed at the same time.

Patent Fast Grant

There are different accelerated procedures offered by the IPO to accelerate patent application processing. So, for example you might get a 'fast grant' patent if:

Patent Registration Process in United Kingdom