What information do you need to apply for a patent?

To apply for a patent, you must submit a patent specification.  This is a complex legal document which describes the invention in sufficient detail to enable it to be performed by others, and defines the scope of protection sought (or conferred) for the invention.

Unless you have significant experience in drafting patent specifications, it is best for this to be prepared by a patent attorney in order to maximise the prospect of obtaining commercially useful patent protection.

So that the patent specification can describe the invention in sufficient detail, a detailed description of at least one way in which your invention can be realised, together with drawings (where relevant), should be provided to the patent attorney. Where an invention can be realised in a number of different ways, it is generally useful to provide a description of these too.

The scope of protection sought by a patent application is defined by a set of claims. To enable the patent attorney to prepare these, they need to understand the closest existing technology to the invention, how the invention improves over that technology or otherwise solves technical problems or gives a commercial advantage.

Working with a patent attorney is a collaborative process and this information is often provided through face-to-face or telephone discussions in addition to correspondence.

Ultimately, patent protection can only be as good as the information that is provided for the preparation of the specification. Therefore, it is better to provide more information rather than less.

The patent applicant (owner of the application) must be correctly identified, as well as all of the people who have had any inventive input into the invention as they also need to be identified.

Finally, thought needs to be given to how the patent will create value. The more your patent attorney understands your business and its commercial aims, the more likely they will be able to prepare a document that not only covers the invention but allows the use of the patent to fit within the broader commercial aims of the business.

For professional advice on applying for a patent, please get in touch to speak to one of our attorneys.

Wilson Gunn