Patenting Your Idea

We partner with a network of chartered attorneys to help you protect your ideas. We partner with startups and companies, small and large. Gaining patent protection on your idea is a complex process but can often be crucial to the future success of your business venture. A UK patent is one of the most effective ways to protect an idea but is expensive. There are other forms of intellectual property protection as well for you to consider. If you are unsure about the best way to protect your concept, why not contact us to discuss the best options for you? If patenting is the right option for you, read on to learn how to patent an idea.

Patent an idea UK

UK Patent

How To Patent An Idea And Apply For A Patent

patent filling
patent draft (L)
developing the patent
patenting ideas
  • Stage 1: Patent Search

    A global patent search is a sensible initial step before drafting and filing a patent application. You will not be able to patent the idea if it has been patented by someone else previously. If you haven’t found the concept anywhere else, that doesn’t mean that it has not been protected already.

    Some businesses will only do a UK patent search, but this doesn’t go far enough. Changing international regulations require you to fulfill your due diligence. If your search isn’t extensive enough, you could be liable for thousands, if not millions, of pounds. For this reason, it’s best to have a professional company do this for you. A quick Google search will not be thorough enough to protect you.

    A simple Google search won’t help you either. Most people don’t realize just how many products already have patent protection, many of which aren’t even on the market yet. There are some companies that patent ideas before the technological ability to create them exists!

    A patent search will help you save money. First, not everything needs a patent. There are other options that might work better for you or your business. We can look at your individual situation and advise you as to which option best suits your needs. Second, some patents don’t have enough of a financial benefit to justify the expense and time needed for the process. Most patents aren’t for completely new products, but alterations to existing designs. A patent search will help make sure that this hasn’t already been patented, but it will also help you determine if a patent gives you adequate protection in markets that you plan on doing business in.

  • Stage 2: Developing the Concept

    In most cases, the next step is to develop the unique features of your idea. Patents do not protect the overall concept. Most patents protect the method by which the concept carries out the overall idea.

    For example. it would not be possible to protect a hedge trimmer (even if not invented previously), but you may well be able to protect the machine with a motor, drive train and specific blade arrangement for cutting hedges.

    When developing your concept, you need to focus on the details. Make sure you give a clear explanation of every aspect of your design. What are the parts, how do they interact with each other, and what is the purpose of the machine or device. Often, the devil is in the details. Many UK patents have been denied because they didn’t properly explain everything. A specific patent is also easier to defend against someone that could either make a claim against it or attempt to infringe upon your patent.

    The results of the patent search may also have revealed that development is necessary to alter or expand your idea so that it does not infringe on an existing patent. Design2Market has experience in creating innovative, patentable solutions to design problems. We’re able to help you during the concept phase to protect your intellectual property and point out potential pitfalls before they affect you.

  • Stage 3: Patent Draft

    Now that the idea is further developed and you have ensured that it is indeed unique, you can proceed with the drafting of your patent application and then filing it with the UK IPO (formerly known as the UK Patent Office).

    Drafting a patent application is best completed by a patent attorney. The attorney will help make sure that there are no delays in the process. One small mistake can cause you to have to start the process over again. There’s no need to risk doing it on your own.

    It is often sensible to have a patent search report completed first to ensure your patent application’s wording avoids infringing existing patents. This will make the process simpler further down the line.

    Design2Market works with expert Chartered Patent Attorneys and can support you through this process.

    Why Is It Essential to do a Patent Search And Detailed Draft When You Patent An Idea? Consider the case of Adam Carolla vs. Personal Audio LLC. Personal Audio LLC is an American based company that buys up patents to apply retroactively on businesses that may not know they exist. In this case, Adam Carolla, the number one podcaster in the world, was sued by the company because they had ownership of a patent that dated back to 1996 regarding the dissemination of information through audio devices.

    If this sounds vague, it’s because the vagueness is a strategy used by companies around the world. These companies will either buy up patents or create them for technology that could exist. They then apply them retroactively on others in vague ways by placing their business in areas of the world (such as East Texas, United States) where they have an improved chance to win cases.

    These businesses don’t want to go to court, but they do want to find companies that didn’t do their due diligence. They’ll use their patent to go after companies and hope that they write a cheque to make the problem go away. Instead, Carolla decided to fight using his vast audience and the case ended up getting dropped.

    These same tactics occur all over the world. A global and UK patent search will help protect you from these methods of financial extraction. If you do your due diligence and are specific when developing your concept, you’ll protect yourself against these types of actions.

  • Stage 4: Patent Filing

    UK Patent filing is done by the UK Intellectual Property Office by post or online. This is often best completed by your Chartered Patent Attorney to make sure it’s done correctly. Once this UK patent is filed a 12-month ‘grace’ period starts. You have 12 months to decide to expand the application out to cover other countries. This is the most cost-effective way to achieve international patent protection but is only available for this limited time.

Why Patents Are Important

Deter other businesses from taking your ideas

You’ve worked hard to develop an idea and develop a concept. The last thing you want to happen is for a competitor to steal and use your ideas.

Patents give you legal protections that will deter businesses from taking your ideas and using them. Regardless of what type of business you run, you need to use the patent process to protect your assets.

Even if you don’t have a business but have an idea for a product or service, you still need to file for patent protection. If you’re looking for investments to help you develop, manufacture, or sell your product, investors often require proof of copyright protection before they invest in you.

A patent must represent either a new product or service or represent a change in the operation, construction, or design of a product. The change cannot be an obvious extension of a preexisting product.

Your idea must have real-world practicality and be specific. You shouldn’t be vague when applying for a patent.

Why not get in touch to discuss your project?

If you are looking for a UK based product design company, then get in touch with us today. We look forward to helping you design, prototype and launch your new product.

Other Intellectual Property options

If it is not possible to obtain a patent or if you want further ways to protect your idea, there are other options to protect your intellectual property (IP)

Registered Design

A registered design can protect the overall appearance of your invention. It is solely about the form and materials and does not cover how the product works. Design Registration is a relatively cheap, quick and easy process compared to patenting and you can get a Registered Community Design that protects your idea across Europe for under £300.


Trademarks are symbols that distinguish goods and services in the market place like logos and brand names. If your product has a certain name or logo that you want associated with it, it’s worth getting a trademark so that no one else can take the name and logo.


Copyright is an automatic right, which applies when the work is fixed – in other words, when it is created or written down. It covers the printed documents, text, journalistic and literary works, images, music and video recordings. It has limited applicability to products but offers some protection of your work.

Professional Help With UK Patents

Now that you know how to patent an idea, you can see how professional help could benefit you. We work with Chartered Patent Attorneys that will take you through this essential step. They will work with you to evaluate your patent, do research to make sure that your idea is original, and work with you to create innovative and patentable solutions to design problems.

We also work with Chartered Patent Attorneys and will assist you throughout this essential step. We’re with you every step of the way to help you avoid any problems during the process. 

D2M partners with Chartered Patent and Trademark Attorneys.

Call us on 01242 787996 or email us on [email protected]