​Should You Patent a New Idea?

​Should You Patent a New Idea?

You’ve invented a new product. That means it’s time to invest in IP.

By Emma Meakin

If you believe you’ve invented the next big thing, then it’s vital to invest in the protection of your idea by getting a patent.

What is a patent?

A patent is a commercial intellectual property right, which provides protection to new ideas and inventions. It can be anything that can be made or used - from a new design for a phone to a new cancer drug. As long as the idea is a truly new invention and not a copy of someone else’s idea, you’ll be able to register your invention to prevent others using it.

Whilst registration will enable the world access the bare minimum information about the design, it won’t disclose the confidential information about how the design works.

Registration costs £230 when applied for online, or £280 for a paper application.

They’re not everlasting

The patent awards you a monopoly of the design for 20 years. The registration creates a right granted by the Crown, and when the right expires, it’ll belong to the people of the UK and the monopoly will end. When the registration period ends, the patented design will be 'revealed' to the public and anyone can use the technology in the specification.

But why invest if it's not everlasting?

You’ll be the sole holder of the 'know-how' to make your idea work efficiently. This allows you to generate income via the sale, assignment or seeking of investment for not only the patented design, but your 'know-how'. Given that you’re the sole holder of the confidential information regarding the way to make your invention work, you can demand a high sum if the design is in high demand.

In the grand scheme of things, the registration fee, whilst it may seem large in the beginning, may become a drop in the ocean, when compared with the money generated from commercial exploitation. So registration is well worth it, provided you believe that it’s a truly sale-able invention.

More information about registration and the UK Patent Registry can be found on the government's intellectual property website.