A patent gives the patentee the sole right to make, use or sell his invention during the period the patent remains in force. This period is sixteen years from the date of filing, subject to the payment of fees. These fees are an initial fee when the patent is registered and renewal fees pay¬ able annually. British patents only apply to the United Kingdom. Protection in other countries can only be obtained by applying for patents in those countries.
When a person wishes to apply for a patent, he must apply to the patent office. Before an invention will be patented it must be proved to contain an element of novelty. Patents are not given if the invention, or its use, is contrary to law or morality, or if it consists of foodstuffs or medicine with no other properties than the ingredients are already known to contain. No financial assistance or advice is given. Information on whether patents are still in force, and in whose name they are registered, may be obtained on application to the Patent Office. When applying for patent it is often advisable to employ a patent agent – a list of registered patent agents can be obtained for a fee from the Chartered Institute of Patent Agents (C.I.P.A.).
An International Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property helps to obtain patent rights abroad by giving the holder of the patent in a member country priority in obtaining similar patents in P: another country. Most well-known countries belong to this Convention, including the U.K. ,U.S.A. ,Russia and most Commonwealth and European countries.
Reference: The Penguin Business Dictionary , 3rd edt.