Patent protection operates over a time scale that is out of step with new media. How can we protect inventions in the first 2 or 3 years?


By filing for a patent you establish a priority date and nothing disclosed after that date will prejudice your patent. You may also file in other countries within 12 months from your priority date.  So, provided you do not lose your priority date, you will in effect have protection from that date.


It’s not uncommon to see patent applicants licensing inventions for which they have made an application, long before the patent itself is granted.


Instead of obtaining a patent you may decide to protect your invention by keeping it as a trade secret and making sure that it is disclosed to no one except under strict conditions of confidentiality. Doing this may be the better solution where the invention is likely to be short lived or very long lived, i.e. longer than the 20 year protection given by patent.


Contact Details


If you would like further advice about any of the issues considered above please contact Christine Reid on 01865 864195 or email her at



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This article is not intended to be, and should not be taken as being, legal advice. The law often changes and it varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction; the information in this article is generic in nature and specific legal advice should be taken before acting on any of it.


© Northwood Reid 2007. The use, copying and dissemination of this article are subject to our Terms of Use.









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