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Assessing whether your idea is worth the effort.
Here is our non-exhaustive compilation of concerning signs and areas.
Concern sign 1 Purely a way of doing business. Watch out here. Although it
may be inventive and useful it is possible that it could be refused patent
protection in Europe. Remember that it may be possible to protect the business
method by protecting something that is essential to it such as a physical process
or apparatus (E.g. the server/software). Features such as data processing for
optimising business decisions or transactions are borderline but might suffice.
Concern sign 2 If there has been any disclosure of your invention to the
public anywhere in the world prior to your patent filing you are in trouble getting
a patent in the UK or Europe. Disclosure means publication, use by a member of
the public or anyone telling anyone else. Confidential disclosure doesn't count
and if it was done illegally (through breach of contract/confidentiality agreement)
then it may still be possible for you to get a patent if you act quickly.
Concern sign 3 The invention was made in the course of or relates to
the inventors employment. If this is the case you need to be sure that you
own the right to the invention and resulting intellectual property. The situation
varies according to your country and often depends on your contract. In the UK if
such an invention or discovery could have been expected during and was made
in the course of normal duties, or during specially assigned duties, or if you are
an employee with special obligations to the employer (E.g. department manager)
then the rights are likely to belong to the employer. Watch out for a similar
contract dependent effect in university research too - even if you are a
Concern area 1 A new style of cartoon / of editing video / of TV show / of
another media. Unfortunately in some countries such as the UK it may not be
possible to protect a new style of media easily unless it has very well defined
Concern area 2 a natural herbal remedy. Unfortunately a natural extract or
herb is difficult to protect except in an artificial form such as a cream,
composition or pill.
Well done. We hope you didn't find any matches here, or too much to worry
about overall. If you did then it might be best to have a good long think before
spending money on your idea.
If you are ready, read our guide on whether you are likely to be eligible for
Warning: Nothing in this document constitutes legal advice. Talk to a business
advisor and an intellectual property advisor in your country before taking any
action or making any decisions.
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