Filing and Examination

Provisional Application

This is normally the first application and is most suitable when your invention is merely conceptual or at an early stage of development. It confers a priority date against which, during later examination, the novelty and inventiveness (or innovativeness) of your invention as disclosed in the provisional specificationwill be assessed. A provisional application will give you time to ascertain whether it is worth spending any more time and money to complete the application. It also gives you time to find possible financiers or partners.

A Provisional Application does not confer enforceable patent rights. After filing the provisional application, you need to file a standard patent application or an innovation patent application within 12 months if you want to maintain the priority date, otherwise it will be lost.

Standard Patent Application

The term of a standard patent is 20 years or up to 25 years for a pharmaceutical patent granted an extension of term. Before a standard patent can be granted, the application, which describes the invention, must be examined and this can take a few months (if expedited examination is requested) or a few years, if the normal process is followed.

Innovation Patent

The term of an innovation patent is 8 years, but they may be more commercially desirable than standard patents for the following reasons:

  • They are granted without being formally examined, although granting does not confer enforceable patent rights.
  • They do not need to be examined unless you wish to take action against infringers of the innovation patent.
  • Only 5 claims are allowed, which is normally enough to adequately protect your invention.
  • The claimed invention does not need to satisfy the higher threshold of inventiveness required for standard patents.
  • They can be granted, examined and certified for enforcement purposes within 3 months
  • They may suit the needs of an invention that has a short commercial life.
  • They may be filed alongside a standard patent application for the invention.
  • They are a very quick and effective way to stop infringement.

Your invention must be novel, inventive (or at least innovative), useful and not secretly used for a valid and enforceable patent to issue.

When filing any of the above applications, you must:
  • Provide full details of the inventor(s) and the applicant(s) for the patent.
  • Provide full details of the invention, e.g. a written description (including drawings) and/or a model or prototype of what it is and how it works.
  • Provide details of the present “state of the art”

Maxwells’ patent attorneys can assist you in assembling all the documentation required to file a patent application, and will act on your behalf during its examination (including the filing of any amendments or arguments to counter any objections) to enable you to have the best chance of securing enforceable patent rights.