What is a patent? 

A patent protects new inventions and covers how things work, what they do, how they do it, what they are made of and how they are made. A patent gives you the ability to take legal action to try to stop others from copying, manufacturing, selling and importing your invention without your permission. 

What can I do with it? 

The patent also allows you to: 
  • Sell the invention and associated intellectual property rights 
  • License the invention to someone else, but retain ownership and certain rights in the IP 
  • Discuss the invention with others in order to set up a business based around the invention 


The invention must be new; have an inventive step that is not obvious to someone with knowledge and experience in the subject; and be capable of being made or used in industry.  The invention must not be a scientific or mathematical discovery, theory or method; a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work; a way of performing a mental act, playing a game or doing business; the presentation of information, or some computer programs; an animal or plant variety; a method of medical treatment or diagnosis against public policy or morality. 

What are the timescales? 

The application process usually takes 4-5 years.