Patent myths

Many of the clients I meet who have invented something new have a basic misunderstanding of the power of a patent.

They believe that once they go through the time consuming (and potentialy expensive) UK patent process. Their intellectual property is fully and automatically protected. I have to explain to them that the UKIPO (previously the Patent Office) does not act as an IP police force, they just decide who gets a patent.

In their latest IP Insight article (link) Simon Crossley, technology partner at Eversheds LLP law firm in Cambridge, explains the steps inventors need to employ to protect the commercial content of their ideas.

One of the key activities is to watch the market for infringements.

“You might as well forget about your IP, if you ignore what everyone else is doing in your market and let the unscrupulous trample on your rights. In the same way as you watch your competitors’ marketing strategy and product development, you should think about whether anyone is misusing your rights, swiping your inventions or lifting your software.

If they are sticking your brand on a product, that is easy to point out. In a complex piece of technology, it can be harder to prove that your IP is being abused. But without proof, you are not going to get any sort of remedy.”

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