Frequently Asked Questions
Browse some of our most frequently asked questions. If we don't have an answer to something, please send us a message.
Do the courses cover all forms of intellectual property rights (e.g. trade marks, designs, copyright, utility models, trade secrets, know how, patents)?
While other forms of IP are covered, particularly in the “Introduction to Intellectual Property” course, most of the courses tend to focus on patents and patent law.
Do the courses only cover UK law?
As the courses are given by UK and European Patent Attorneys, the focus is on patent law and practise in the UK and Europe. However, because the US is such an important market, some courses do cover US patent law from a European perspective.
Can I ask specific questions?
The sessions are run in small groups and delegates are encouraged to engage and ask questions relating to the various topics.
However, the courses are not intended to give legal advice but rather to provide delegates with the knowledge, tools and methods to employ in their workplace to deal with specific IP situations.
What is involved in the Group Exercises?
The group is presented with different scenarios, based upon the material covered in the course, relating to securing or exploiting their own IP rights or dealing with third party IP rights. The group as a whole discusses potential solutions to these problems.
I have a patent covering the new product or service which I plan to launch – why do I need to conduct a freedom to operate search?
Having a patent allows you to stop others exploiting your invention but someone else may have an earlier patent that generically covers your invention (e.g. their patent covers ‘golf balls’ whereas you have a later patent to ‘fluorescent golf balls’). In this situation, you would need to take a licence under their earlier patent.
I have an idea which I think could be patentable. What should I do?
Conduct searches on the internet and patent data bases to see if anyone else has thought of your idea and disclosed it publicly.
Don’t discuss your idea in detail with anyone unless under confidence, and if you do then make sure that they understand that it is in confidence. This is really important as publicly disclosing your idea before you file a patent application could prevent you securing patent rights.
If all looks fine, and there is a good commercial case to go forward, speak to a patent attorney to draft a patent application.
I’ve filed my patent application – can I talk to third parties who might want to collaborate with me in funding and/or developing the invention or taking a licence under the patent?
It is always safer not to speak to any third parties about your patent application until it has published which is 18 months from the filing date. This is because they may subsequently file their own patent application covering elements of your invention or claim that you have used some of their ideas. This can also be the case even when the third party signs a Confidentiality Agreement.
I have a new product which I am bringing to market and have come up with a new brand name for it. How can I check if someone else has used the brand name already?
You should conduct searches on the internet and trade mark data bases. As trade marks are national rights you will have to search on each of the data bases where you plan to market your product.
If all looks well, speak with a trade mark attorney regarding applying for the mark.
I have created an innovate design for children’s shoes which is unique and eye catching and I’m afraid that it will be copied. Are there any intellectual property rights I could apply for to protect my creation?
You should consider applying for registered design protection. Search the publicly available design databases to make sure your design is unique and then, assuming it is, speak with a patent attorney who deals with design registration.
I have developed a novel process for making a well known dye which is much cheaper than the existing method. Should I patent this?
You should consider the pros and cons of patenting versus keeping your method as a trade secret. Key factors to consider are that patent rights are time limited, whereas trade secrets are not, and could you detect (and prove) infringement.