Cambridge Festival of Ideas | Medical & Law University

Cambridge Festival of Ideas

What to Do If You Have an Idea That Needs To Be Patented In the UK

February 6th, 2014

If you have a great idea, and want to take it to the next level by patenting it, this article offers some valuable information that will be able to get you off to a head start. Remember, there is no point in starting to share the initial idea, before you actually patent it because there is nothing to stop others from copying your invention.

The whole purpose behind creativity and inventions is to ensure that your ideas are yours, and you get the recognition for it.  To get started you can visit and fill in their application form. The great thing is that it’s not extremely expensive to have your idea patented, in fact, it will only set you back £20 for the initial application fee, if you utilise the online form, or £30 if you prefer to have a paper copy sent to you in the post. It will set you back £130 to run a professional search to ensure that you’ve not missed out any prior patents for your idea in the initial research period, and, £80 if you need to perform a substantive examination. A small fee to pay, especially if your idea actually takes off!

Things to Think About Before Filling in the Patent Application

First of all, your idea must be completely unique. It must have never been invented before. That means that you will have to research and check that no one else has tried it in the past. You also have to ensure that it’s not categorised as the excluded type. To check more about this you should visit the IPO website.

You need to make sure that youre the owner of the invention, for which you are filling out the patent form. Or, if your idea involves a group of inventors, that you all make a joint application. Remember, being the legal owner or owners is a necessity.

Check with professionals who have experience when it comes to patents, seeking legal advice from a solicitor or a patent attorney is your best option. Alternatively, you can get in touch with a member of staff at the Intellectual Property Offices ran by the UK government.

If the above idea sounds like something that applies to you, and your idea is something that you need to move forward with, then apply for a patent. One key thing to note here is that a patent application that is approved inside the UK, is only valid in the UK. So, if you are going to be looking at taking your idea globally, you will have to do some more research and see if its possible to take out a patent idea outside of UK territory. If you do decide to apply overseas as well, you have to apply for your UK patent first, then after the approval process, you can start to apply aboard after a six-week cooling period. You do of course have to seek permission from the Intellectual Property Office in the UK, before doing so.

It sounds like a complicate process; however, its one well worth following because you never know what lies around the corner for you. Failure, and knowing that youve tried in the first place, is better than thinking about what would have happened, should you have gone through the process of trying. Good luck.


If you have any comments or questions please feel free to get in touch with usJ Also, of course if you have actually been successful in getting a patent approved in the UK we would love to hear from you!