Starting the process
To be granted a patent, the invention must be:
- something that can be made or used
- inventive and not just a simple modification of something that already exists.
It cannot be a way of doing business, an artistic work, a theory or discovery, nor a way of presenting information.
If you do decide you want to go ahead and apply for a patent, you need to start by checking for similar patents. You then prepare your application, including descriptions of the invention, legal statements, a summary and drawings, before submitting it to the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), along with an application fee.
For protection outside of the UK you can file an application with the European Patent Office and/or the Patent Cooperation Treaty, which handles patent protection for 140 countries. You can also apply to patent offices in individual countries.