A patent is used to protect your invention and gives you the right to take legal action against anyone who makes, uses, sells or imports your invention without your permission.
In the UK you can apply for a patent through the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and it typically takes three to four years for it to be granted. However, once it is granted a patent can last for up to 20 years, and it is up to you to defend it and keep it up to date.
Before you apply for a patent, it is always best to seek professional advice beforehand, as it can be a complicated and expensive process. You are unlikely to get a patent if you're not represented by a patent attorney or other professional advisor.
One key thing to remember is that you may not be able to patent your invention if it becomes public beforehand, so it is a good idea to use a non-disclosure agreement between you and any third party if you have to talk to anyone else about your invention, like potential manufacturers or financial backers.
To find out more about registering for a patent, talk to our Intellectual Property team.