Patents protect technical inventions, such as mechanical processes or devices. Having a patent will allow you to profit from your invention or idea and license others to do so.
To be patentable, an invention must be new and must not be obvious at the time when the patent application is filed, e.g., it must not have been disclosed to the public anywhere in the world, even by the inventor, before the filing date of the application.
How do I file a patent application?

An application needs to be filed at the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO). The patent application must include a description of the invention, drawings if appropriate and optionally claims and an abstract. We can prepare the application and file it for you at the IPO. Once a patent application has been filed you are free to disclose the invention to the public.


The patent application is searched and examined by the IPO. If the examiner is satisfied that the claimed invention is patentable, the application is accepted and published as a granted patent.

How long does the patent process take?

Obtaining UK patents usually take three to four years from filing. However, it’s often possible to shorten the process very significantly. An application will be placed on a “fast track” if we request combined search and examination by paying the search and examination fees together. Using the “fast track” process can lead to a granted patent within approximately two years of filing.

How much does a patent cost?

The cost of preparing and prosecuting a patent application depends on the complexity of the invention and on the official objections, if any, that are made.


A typical cost for a UK patent would be between £2500 and £5000 (excluding VAT). This would include preparing and filing the application at the IPO; requesting search and advising on the search results; requesting examination and dealing with any objections; sending routine reminders; and informing you about the various formal steps such as publication and grant.

How long do patents last?

The maximum life of the patent is twenty years from the initial filing date. However, once the patent is four years old, annual renewal fees become payable to maintain the patent in force.


How can I protect my invention in other countries?

UK patents only give rights in this country. If you want to make sure your invention is protected outside the United Kingdom, you will need to file foreign patent applications within twelve months of applying for an initial UK patent.


More about patents

For further information about UK and foreign patents, including patent cooperation treaty (PCT) applications and patent box, please visit our resources section where you’ll find some useful guides.

Please call us on +44 (0) 116 233 2626 for any further advice about applying for a patent for your invention.