Acquiring a patent can help to protect your new product idea from competitors, but how much will one set you back by?

You don’t have to have a patent in order to start selling a new product, but neglecting to get one can be a risky decision.

If you’ve invented a new product idea, then acquiring a patent before you invest too much time and money into your idea can help to provide you with some security.

Not all products can be patented. To be eligible for a patent an invention must be a unique product or process that can be used practically. Things that are not eligible for a patent include theories, decorative designs and abstract ideas.

What is a patent?

A patent provides the owner of an idea with the right to take legal action against anyone else who tries to produce, sell or otherwise use their invention for commercial purposes.

Patents are granted by the UK Intellectual Property Office and generally last a maximum of 20 years.

Do I need a patent?

The process of applying for a patent can be lengthy, expensive and time-consuming, sometimes taking years to complete the process.

Whilst it is not necessary to patent your idea, the many benefits of owning a patent make it something to seriously consider when launching a new product.

Some of the key benefits of patenting your product include:

  • Protects your idea from being stolen.
  • Reduces competition by giving the inventor the monopoly over the idea.
  • Can help to win investors.
  • The inventor can charge more for the product as they have control of the market.
  • Patent rights can be sold or licensed for royalties.

How much will a patent cost?

There are lots of different fees associated with the patent application process. On average, the entire process usually costs somewhere between £2,000 and £4,000 for a UK patent, with costs increasing further if you’re also seeking a European or International patent.

The patent application process can be a long and complicated one, so it’s always advisable to seek help from a professional Patent Attorney.

The patent application process generally costs between £230 and £280, depending whether you make a paper or digital application, applying online is cheaper.

Just some of the fees that this amount comprises includes:

  • Request for grant of patent.
  • Application fee.
  • Request a search.
  • Request a substantive examination.

Other fees on top of the application process include:

  • Patent attorney fees.
  • Renewal fees.
  • The potential cost of enforcing your patent.

How to apply for a patent

Patent applications must be made to the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

Applications can be sent either by:

  • Post
  • Fax
  • Online
  • Delivered in person

If you wish to apply for a patent outside of the UK, it is best to first apply within the UK and then apply elsewhere within the 12 months from this filing.