The Patent Application Process

Centrifugal pump impeller patent diagram

Do not disclose details of the invention to anyone (except to your patent attorney or under conditions of confidentiality) before an application has been filed at the Patent Office.

The patent application will include a description of the invention, claims defining the scope of protection and often drawings and/or examples. After the application has been filed, the Patent Office carry out a novelty search and issue a search report.

18 months after the application has been filed, the Patent Office will publish your application. Until that time, the Patent Office keeps the application secret.

A Patent Office Examiner will examine the application against the requirements of the patent law and issue an examination report explaining any objections.

A reply to the examination report can be filed with amendments to the application and arguments to overcome the Examiner's objections.

Once the Examiner is satisfied, the patent will be granted.

Renewal fees have to be paid every year after the end of the 4th year to keep the patent in force.

If all renewal fees are paid, the patent protection lasts up to 20 years from the filing date of the application.

A granted British patent will give protection in the United Kingdom. Protection for your invention outside the United Kingdom would require further patent applications, but these can be filed up to 12 months from your application date.

Your patent rights can be sold (assigned) or licensed to third parties in return for a negotiated financial return, which may be in the form of a lump sum or a royalty based on the extent of use or sales of the invention by the third party.