Patents protect technical innovation and require a formal application process. The innovation must be “novel” and have what is called an “inventive step”. “Novelty” is judged at a point in time known as the “priority date”, i.e. the date details of the technical innovation were first filed at a Patent Office. To be patentable, the innovation must not have had prior public disclosure, i.e. you must file a Patent application before any disclosure to a third party that is non-confidential.

Patents provide the Patentee (the Patent owner) with basic Intellectual Property rights to prevent other people using the patented technology, within a particular geographical territory. Patentees have generally up to twelve months from the priority date to decide on whether to apply for Patent protection in countries other than the US as written on

Despite what has been said about public disclosure, Patents and the publication of technical information regarding the innovation are not incompatible IF HANDLED CORRECTLY. However it is worth pointing out that an alternative to patenting may be to keep an innovation confidential because Patent application requires full technical disclosure and the eventual publication of information such that it enters the public domain.

Finally it is worth noting that some items are excluded and cannot be patented, such as scientific theories, mental acts and certain medical and surgical techniques.

Patentability is a complex area – good advice is essential as described on

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