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Do you have an invention that you have not publicly disclosed or used for commercial activities? It may be beneficial for you to apply for a patent to protect your invention.

Once you have created an invention, the next step is to consider whether or not you should proceed to apply for a patent. To look at the benefits of this application, please see:

An invention may be able to be registered as either a standard or innovative patent.  It is crucial to note that an invention cannot be registered as either a standard or innovative patent if it already exists in the “prior art base”. This means that if people within your particular industry already know about the invention, and there is common knowledge about this invention which these people share, the invention is not considered to be new and does not qualify to apply for a patent.

Who can apply for a patent?

To begin the process of application, a patent application must be filed by an authorised person. Under the Patents Act 1990 an authorised person includes:

  • The inventor(s) of the invention
  • A person to whom the inventor(s) has granted rights to in relation to the invention
  • If a person creates an invention in the course of their normal duties the owner of the invention will become the employer. In these circumstances an employer can make a patent application
  • A company or organisation
  • A partnership can make an application jointly in their own names

Applying for a provisional patent

As an inventor, you may file a provisional application.  This allows for 12 months within which you may decide which class of patents the creation will be registered in after considered the commercial worth of the creation.

A provisional application may be filed online and should contain a full description of your invention including all relevant specifications and details.

How do I apply for a standard patent or innovative patent?

Both standard and innovative patents may be applied for online.  Your online application needs to be accompanied by a filing fee. You must provide a specification of your invention, including details about all the features of your invention.

You should include the following in your specification, if relevant:

  • An explanation of how your invention works
  • How your invention can be useful in your industry
  • Drawings, graphs
  • Claims which describe your invention


When applying for a patent it may be appropriate to consult a patent lawyer who has experience in this area of intellectual property law. Protecting your invention is important.  A patent specialist will help you make the right application the first time, which may save you time and money.

For more information on patents and intellectual property law, please see:


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