UK Patent Protection
To obtain a patent for UK protection, you must make a patent application to the Intellectual Property Office which will then send you the required forms. These forms must be returned with a description of the invention and filing fee. The date of receipt of your application by the Intellectual Property Office (the filing date) is important because this becomes the priority date both for UK and international patent protection purposes.
Within twelve months of the filing date, you must send to the Intellectual Property Office a preliminary search fee, a description and drawings of the invention, and the patent claims. This specification is then published by the Intellectual Property Office.
Within six months of publication of the patent specification an examination fee is payable whereupon the Intellectual Property Office examines in detail whether the invention qualifies for patent protection. The Intellectual Property Office will then send you a report setting out the findings of the examination and give you an opportunity to amend the application or make comments on the findings. Once the Intellectual Property Office is satisfied, a patent will be granted.
The whole process should take about three years. However, the Intellectual Property Office has a fast track procedure which can be used in certain types of cases, including where the invention relates to a green technology, or where a faster process is needed in order to raise finance, or where there is a potential infringer.
After grant, annual renewal fees must be paid after 5 years.