• 28
  • OCT
  • 2019

I recently asked leading patent attorney, Mark Sweetinburgh of patent attorneys Sweetinburgh & Windsor, to give us 5 key pointers on the patent system.

1) Patenting is important to protect investment in research…

Scientists strive to make improvements in their field and their progress and achievements can be acknowledged in many different ways. The time, effort and resources that go into scientific research need continued support to secure funding and further developments in a given field. The patent system encourages innovation and knowledge sharing, while protecting the rights of those who innovate from “me too” third parties who wish to copy the work of others.

2) …and allows a return on that investment.

Protecting innovation using patents helps to commercialise innovations.  This allows the rights in an invention to be commercialised by the research organisation, licenced or sold to third parties or a spin-out or start-up to be set up. The value in the innovation may initially be in the intellectual property that protects it.  The know-how associated with an invention is also key and the intrinsic value should not be overlooked.

3) Applying for a patent doesn’t stop you publishing.

The two processes can run side-by-side and early consideration of whether there is any patentable subject-matter can help initiate a patent drafting process at an appropriate point. This helps to ensure that both a journal publication can be made, and a patent application can be filed, where appropriate.  It is important that a patent application is considered and filed before a journal publication is made.

4) It works better if the scientist stays involved.

Filing and achieving a granted patent application can be used to show the impact of research. But continued engagement from scientists in the prosecution of patent applications helps achieve stronger patents - there will often be issues raised during the prosecution of a patent application and the input of the inventor can be key to achieving a granted patent.

5) It is worth your while being aware of IP protection types.

As well as patent applications, there are numerous other types of intellectual property protection that can be used to protect innovation. Some of these rights exist automatically, and others need to be applied for. Improving knowledge of different types of intellectual property and when they are appropriate can give a greater understanding to how to protect innovation and deliver impact.

Patent & Trade Mark Attorney Mark Sweetinburgh is a partner at Sweetinburgh & Windsor