If you have a great idea for an invention then it may be worth obtaining a patent to protect it and stop others making, using, or selling your invention for a period of time. You can then licence your invention to companies and they will pay you royalties.
First you have to do a global patent search. This ensures no one else has already filed a patent for the invention. If one already exists, even if it is in another country or a long time ago you won’t be able to file for the patent.
Assuming that there are no existing patents you have to develop a prototype or the actual product itself. You can’t get a patent on an idea or concept.
Next you need to draft an application. This is usually done by a chartered patent attorney and the costs can vary depending on the complexity of the invention.
This is then filed with the UK Intellectual Property Office. It can be done by yourself or you can use the chartered patent attorney. There are fees involved and after filing it can take 3-5 years to get your patent granted. It’s at this point you can use the term “Patent Pending”.
Alternatively, you can licence your invention without a patent, as you can see by this process it can take quite a long time to apply for and be granted a patent. Not all inventions require it or are worth it. There are many more smaller, simpler products which you can invent for and approach distributors in that particular field who will take it to market and pay you royalties for the idea.
Sites to use
Espacenet patent search – Search more than 120 million patent documents from around the world.
UK Patent Office – Use a patent to protect your invention.