Patent Offices

Guide to dealing with Patent Offices

Each nation state has (and some regions have) their own Patent Office for filing for patent protection in that territory, but almost all of these Patent Offices are signed up to international treaties.

This page summarises what Patent Offices do and the key information you need to know about how they operate.

For example, the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO), also known as the UK Patent Office, or the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the only organisation that can grant a patent in the UK or US, but any filing at the UK IPO or USPTO gains an internationally applicable filing date under the treaties.

Patent Offices are responsible for the granting and maintaining of patents. However they are also responsible for registration of designs, copyright and trademarks. Additional forms of protection in Europe can be read about here:

Other ways of protecting your Intellectual Property

The UK IPO is responsible for the following patent related tasks:

  • Receiving and examining patent applications
  • Granting Patents
  • Maintaining a library of granted patents
  • Correcting defective patents
  • Cataloguing and storing documents related to patent applications
  • Collecting patent fees

Patent Offices do not deal typically with patent infringement matters. Courts are typically responsible for this.

In the process of obtaining a granted patent, the involvement of the Patent Office is likely to be:

  • Receiving your application and sending out an internationally applicable Patent Filing Number
  • Checking your applications to see if it meets minimum requirement
  • Publish brief details of your application in relevant official publications
  • Assess whether your idea needs a secrecy order
  • Conducts a novelty search
  • Completes a Substantive Examination
  • Suggests issues with your applicaton
  • Raises any objections to your application
  • Issues a notice of allowance (indicating in what form your patent will soon be granted)
  • Corrects any errors or omissions in your application
  • Sends you a certificate of granted patent!

These sections deal in more detail with each route in the UK:

Can I patent my Idea?
What can a patent cover? What does it not cover?
It is sometimes difficult to work out whether your new idea is something that can be patented, whether it is worth patenting at all or whether there is a better way to protect it than patenting.
Using a Patent Agent
A guide a choosing and commissioning a Patent Agent
Patent Agents, also known as Patent Attorneys, can be hugely expensive so take some advice before commissioning one to complete and file your patent application. It might be better to self file your patent application...
Patent application
How to apply for a patent
A complete, easy to read guide on how to fill out the patent application forms and file for a UK Patent. This section covers: when to use a patent agent; how to self file your application and which patent forms are needed.

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