UK Patent Procedure
The first step towards seeking patent protection is the filing of an application. As soon as the application is filed it is lawful to state ‘patent pending’.
As part of the application process the UKIPO must do a search and an examination to try to determine whether or not the claimed invention is new and inventive, and therefore worthy of patent protection.
The official search is a search by the UKIPO to try to find the most similar things that have been done before.
The examination is a comparison between what has been done before and the claimed invention in the application to try to determine whether or not the invention is ‘new’ and ‘inventive’, the two main criteria for patent protection to be granted. In the examination the UKIPO will raise any objections they have to the grant of a patent.
Once the examination report has been issued there is the opportunity to argue against these objections and make any amendments to the application as necessary. However, please note that any amendments made must have basis in the application as filed.
Publication of the application occurs around 18 months from its priority date, which for UK first-filings is the filing date.
If a patent is granted then it must be renewed every year by payment of renewal fees to UKIPO. The maximum life of a patent is 20 years from filing.