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Patents

Patents

Patents

Patents

Patents lie at the heart of what we do

We provide the full patenting service, including drafting, filing and prosecuting patent applications at the UK and European Patent Offices, filing and defending patent oppositions and advising on revocations and infringement issues. We also have extensive experience in arranging patent applications in the USA, Japan, China and in many other important foreign territories. Additionally, we provide support services such as patent searching, watching and translations. Using our powerful records package, we also provide a competitive patent renewals service.

Please see the various pages in this section for further information.

Patents

What is a patent?

What is a patent?

A patent protects an invention which is both new and inventive. It gives the owner a monopoly to use the invention, and the power to stop others who copy it. A single good patent can form the basis for an entire business.

Patents are useful because they protect the idea behind a product, not necessarily the product itself. Anyone who also uses that idea, regardless or whatever else they might do, infringes the patent. If the patent protects an idea in broad terms, then it can be used to stop others making products which are anything like yours, giving you an exclusive right to exploit an entire market. Sometimes patents only protect a new part of a product, but if that part improves the product then the patent will give you an edge over your competitors.

A patent must be applied for, and a patent application is the subject of intense scrutiny by the patent office at which it is filed. If the invention proves to be both new and inventive over all that has gone before, then the patent will be granted to you. Patents can last up to 20 years, and have to be renewed annually. For more information on the various aspects of patents and how to obtain and enforce them, please see the other pages of this section.

In the UK patents will also shortly help you reduce your corporate tax burden through the new Patent Box system. The corporation tax due on profits made from sales of patented products, or those which contain a patented component, will begin to reduce year on year from April 2013, until the burden is just half the regular level. Companies with a healthy patent portfolio stand to reduce their corporate tax burden by a very significant amount. If you would like to know more about this particular aspect, please contact us.  

Patents

Patents applications

Patents applications

As your Patent Attorneys it is our job to prepare and file patent applications to protect your inventions. We can bring an unrivalled level of skill and intuition to this process because we have been doing it for over a century.

To obtain a patent for an invention it is necessary to make a patent application, which is then examined. The invention must be entirely new, and it must have inventive merit. If this is clearly so then the patent application can be straightforward, but if it has to be argued then it can be a complicated and difficult process. In most cases applicants have to fight to get the broadest rights, and this is when having a good Patent Attorney is vital.  

To determine if an invention is new and inventive patent examiners search through prior publications including patent applications. This is called the "prior art". They issue search reports on their findings, and examination reports which contain reasoned objections based on those findings. It is then necessary to either argue that these objections are unfounded, or to amend what they claim their invention to be to avoid conflict with the prior art. This process can take anything from a few months to several years to complete, and only a skilled Patent Attorney with a background in the relevant scientific discipline will be able to achieve the best result.

At Baron Warren Redfern our patent lawyers handle patent applications relating to a vast range of different subjects, both here in the UK and around the world. With our expertise you can be sure that the best possible patent application will be granted to protect your invention.

Speak to our patent attorneys today for everything you need to know on how to file a patent application.

Patents

Patent costs

Patent costs

No two patent applications cost the same amount. It depends on the complexity of the invention, the amount of work required to successfully prosecute the application, and the geographic coverage required. These factors determine the inevitable scale of the costs, but the key is to ensure you get value for money. As your Patent Attorneys it falls to us to ensure you always get good value by being efficient and conscientious.

There are two kinds of costs: the official fees paid to patent offices and the service charges paid to Patent Attorneys. Patent office fees are set amounts for examining and granting patent applications, and for maintaining granted patents. Patent Attorney charges are either time-based, and depend on the amount of work required to perform certain tasks, or set amounts for taking prescribed actions, like paying fees on your behalf.

In the first instance the patent application document must be drafted, and here the costs will depend on the complexity of the invention to be described. This can be from as little as £1,500 to more than £5,000 (excluding VAT), and in each case an applicant is advised of the likely costs before the work is done.

If an invention is entirely new and inventive then the cost of prosecuting the application to grant may be low, but if not then further significant costs can be incurred. Such costs are spread out over a long period of time, and vary enormously from case to case. Again, you would be advised of likely costs before work is done.

The biggest factor is the geographic coverage required. If protection is only required in the UK then a granted patent can typically be obtained for a few thousand pounds, but if protection is required in Europe, the US, China, Japan, India and so on, then the costs will be far greater. Our clients are advised of such foreign costs when they consult with us on their choices, and if you would like to know more then please contact us.

Patents

Foreign patents

Foreign patents

Patents only protect inventions in the country where the patent is granted. A UK patent will only protect an invention here, and in order to obtain protection abroad one or more further patent applications must be filed in the territories required. This needs to be done within 1 year of filing the UK application.

In some cases foreign countries can be grouped together, for example with a European patent application. As European Patent Attorneys we handle such applications on a large scale. These are filed, examined and granted centrally, but result in separate national rights.

Foreign national patent applications

We have associate agents in every country in the world who handle applications for our clients in their territories when required. We have long standing working relationships with our foreign agents, and our clients benefit from the advantages this brings. We only use agents whose services we have thoroughly tried and tested, and which have proven to be cost-effective and efficient.

As an alternative to filing foreign patent applications within 1 year of filing the initial UK patent application, it is possible to file a so-called “International Patent Application”, or PCT application, instead. This is not an application for a patent to be granted, rather it is an application made to the World Intellectual Property Organisation in Geneva to perform a patent search, and optionally an examination, to determine the merits or otherwise of the invention. A PCT application takes 18 months, and at the end of this period the applicant can file foreign national and/or regional patent applications in the territories of interest. As such, the filing of a PCT application allows for the filing of such foreign patent applications to be deferred until 30 months from the filing date of the initial UK patent application.

As UK and European Patent Attorneys we handle PCT applications for our clients directly and offer a very competitive rate.  

If you would like to know more about filing foreign patent applications please contact us using the link on the left.

Patents

Patent infringement

Patent infringement

Patents exist to prevent others using your inventions. Access to cost-effective and efficient patent enforcement services is therefore vital if your patents are to serve their true purpose.

It is often stated, quite wrongly, that the cost of patent enforcement is so great that it defeats the object of obtaining any. It is true that High Court patent infringement trials can be very expensive, but they are also extremely rare. In the vast majority of patent infringement situations the parties reach agreement quickly, and without incurring large costs. Every situation is different, and it is a question of employing the right strategy, and being imaginative when necessary.

If a patent holder wants to put a stop to an infringer’s activities, in many cases a simple cease and desist letter will achieve the desired result. If not, it may be necessary to start a patent infringement action in the Patents County Court or the High Court, which places such pressure on infringers that most capitulate straight away. The costs of taking such actions are easily within the means of most patent owners.

Wielding patent rights to stop infringers is not the only approach. Instead revenue can be generated by granting the infringer a patent licence, or even selling them your patent. We can ensure that you get the best deal in any situation.

Often patent rights are infringed in multiple jurisdictions around the world, and Baron Warren Redfern also has particular experience in co-ordinating global infringement action through its foreign associates. We place great emphasis on ensuring the highest benefit to cost ratio in such circumstances.

Obtaining granted patents for our clients is one thing, but it would be of little value without our ability and experience in helping them use those patents to the best effect if necessary.  

If you would like to know more about enforcing your patent rights or for mor einformation on patent infringement, please contact us using the link on the left

Patents

Patent Box

Patent Box

On 1 April 2013 the eagerly anticipated Patent Box system came into force. This is an important tax break for companies that derive income from products or services protected by patents, and which those companies have been involved in developing.

Currently, 80% of such income will be subject to a reduced Corporation Tax rate of 10%, and from the tax year 2017/18 that rate will apply to 100% of such income.

The details of the scheme are quite complicated, but we set out below some salient points:

1. To qualify for the Patent Box regime, patents must belong to a company that has been actively involved in developing the invention.  Thus, patents standing in the name of an inventor or of a holding company would not qualify and would need to be assigned to the company that is deriving the income from the invention.

2. To benefit from the reduced tax rate, a company must opt into the scheme within two years of the end of the accounting period in which the income arises.  The company can opt out at any time, but cannot then opt back in for five years.

3. A patent qualifying for the Patent Box regime includes not just British and European patents, but those granted by the national patent offices of Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Sweden.

4. Income qualifying for the reduced Corporation Tax rate includes not only income derived from the sale of patented goods but that derived from the grant of an exclusive licence (provided this covers the whole of the United Kingdom), from the sale of patents and income arising from the infringement of patent rights. A notional arms length royalty on income arising from using a patented product in a process or in the provision of a service may also qualify.

5. If a product includes a patented component, however small, that is integral to the product, the whole of the income deriving from sales of that product can qualify for the Patent Box.

6. HMRC will not be in a position to judge whether a patent subject to the Patent Box scheme is valid, or whether the claims of the patent actually cover the product being sold or the process used, but we may assume that false representation in relation to patent rights relied on will, if discovered, be treated in the same way as any other tax fraud.  If however a patent is revoked and thus deemed never to have been valid, HMRC will not claw back tax that has been saved in the meantime.

7. The advisability or otherwise of a company electing the Patent Box scheme in respect of its intellectual property rights will be a matter for discussion with the company’s accountants.  In general however, there will be an incentive to apply for patent protection of as many of a company’s products or processes as possible since even a very narrow patent claim, that might be of little use in impeding the activities of competitors, can still reduce a company’s tax burden provided it covers the company’s own income-generating products.  It may also increase the incentive to defend patents against revocation proceedings in order to keep a patent in force for as long as possible.

8. Further information can be obtained from the UK Intellectual Property Office website, www.ipo.gov.uk/types/patent/p-patentbox.htm.  The HMRC website, www.gov.uk/guidance/corporation-tax-the-patent-box gives some detailed information about the Patent Box regime, including examples of how a tax rate might be worked out.

Rapid Response

Email us and we WILL endeavour to reply within 1 working day

1 Hour Free Consultation

To all new clients to discuss their requirements

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Susan Murgatroyd

Partner - UK & European Patent Attorney; European Design Attorney

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Gareth Ashton

UK & European Patent Attorney; European Design Attorney

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Douglas Johnstone

Partner - UK & European Patent Attorney; European Design Attorney

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Fiona Scott

UK & European Patent Attorney; European Design Attorney

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Jerry Bridge-Butler

Partner - UK & European Patent Attorney; UK & European Trade Mark Attorney; European Design Attorney

1 Hour Free Consultation

We offer an hour's free consultation to all new clients to discuss their requirements. If you would like to set up a meeting, please call us, or use the form opposite to leave your details so that we can contact you.

With our Rapid Response guarantee email us and we will endeavour to reply within 1 working day.