The Eureka® Service
Improve your first filed patent application
For many individual inventors, as well as small enterprises, the patent system poses a problem:
If you have made an invention and want to take things further, you probably need to involve others, and anyway that usually helps to develop the idea. But unless within a framework of confidentiality, you can’t do that before you file your patent application since otherwise you would be letting the secret out before the filing date and that means that any eventual patent that you obtained could be invalid because you had disclosed the invention before filing.
At the very early stage, individuals and small enterprises just don’t know whether the cost of investing in a professionally fully drafted patent application, paying up to thousands of pounds if it takes a long time to settle what will be filed, is going to be justified. So many resort to a “DIY” filing, aided by the guidance which is available, for example from the Intellectual Property Office, and from some “self help” books.
What the Intellectual Property Office material certainly fails clearly to point out is that a perfectly good patent application for the purpose of establishing the priority date, i.e. the date on which you first filed an application to protect your idea at the Intellectual Property Office can consist simply of the application form and a simple description of your invention and how to put it into effect, without anything more. Within a year, and by then you will know much more about whether the idea is worthwhile and can be taken further and exploited commercially, you can file a second application which “claims priority” of the first application. That means that, for subject-matter which is common to the second and first applications, the original filing date applies. This means that disclosing your ideas between the first filing date and when you file the second application does not invalidate any patent which may eventually be secured on the basis of that second application.
Once you know that the invention is going to be worthwhile protecting, it is usually worth the investment of having a second application professionally drawn up, providing you are still within a year of the filing date of the first application.
In order for the “priority claiming” mechanism to work, however, the original application does have to disclose the invention and it should preferably do so in a way which does not contain potential problems downstream, for example describing something as being essential when a moment’s reflection would show that it was optional.
We offer a confidential checking, review and enhancement service for DIY-drafted patent applications. It works like this:
You decide that you want to file a patent application, but do not want to simply pay out the money to have it professionally drafted, so you write down (often with drawings or illustrations as well) what it is you think you have invented.
You then send a copy of that to us accompanied by a cheque for £260 plus VAT and sufficient data to enable us to get our response back to you. Our response takes the form of a covering letter or e-mail giving you the results of our consideration and, usually, a copy of what you are proposing to file with annotations and amendments which we think would be advisable. Very often, we suggest inserting a whole new paragraph which crystallises what we think, on the basis of what you have sent us, you have invented, but written in wording which, without too much difficulty, can later be converted into the main “patent claim”.
You do not have to take any notice of our suggested changes, but we recommend that you only reject them if they are clearly wrong. That can happen if, for some reason, we have failed to understand what it was you was trying to say, but that in its turn ought to stimulate revision on your part so that no-one else makes the same error, and what you did mean to say is then clear.
You then file the application at the UK Intellectual Property Office (without paying any search or application fees) and you get a number and a date for the application. More importantly, you now move the project forward to see if the idea can be successfully commercialised.
We cannot, in the context of a single exchange review process of this sort, turn whatever you propose into a professionally drafted specification, but we can improve it and, if we think it contains problems, you can address them once you know what they are.
We accept material in the post, by fax or via e-mail; the choice is yours. In terms of payment, a cheque (made out to Gallafents LLP) should accompany material posted to us. Alternatively, we can take a payment by card over the telephone.
We aim to turn material round within a week of receipt.
Intellectual Property Audit
It is often the case that individuals or companies are the proprietors of various forms of Intellectual property of which they are not always fully aware. That can take the form of, for example, inventions, know how, trade names, domain names, copyright, and/or design rights. Knowledge of these assets allows the owner to make an informed decision as to what, if anything, they want to do with these assets and whether to try to protect them. Remember, the Intellectual Property assets of a business are assets in the same way as the office furniture or the stock, and can form a substantial part of the value of a business.
We offer a confidential Intellectual Property Audit service which will identify what we believe your Intellectual Property assets are and recommend what we think you should do to protect and/or enhance those assets. Typically this would involve visiting your place of business, or meeting with you at some other location, discussing what your business is and how it operates, reviewing your promotional materials and any other materials that you use to interact with your clients/customers or potential clients/customers, and thereafter providing you with a written report on our findings. Our charges for the provision of such a report will be agreed before we commence our activities.
If you wish us to conduct an Intellectual Property audit of your business, please contact us and we can discuss charges and agree how to move forward.