There are several things you need to either do or be aware of when considering whether or not to apply for a patent for your invention.
1. You must not disclose your invention to anyone or put it in the public domain before applying for a patent - this doesn't mean that you can't discuss it with patent attorneys or business advisors but you should be aware of confidentiality and use non-disclosure agreements where possible.
Link to Non Disclosure leaflet
2. It is important that your invention is new if you are to have a chance of getting a patent granted - you can check this out by doing a web search - often a few words typed into a search engine such as google will produce a list of products. It is also possible to check out published patent applications on free sites such as espacenet:
tips: Always search title or abstract rather than just title and sometimes it is worth trying to find the relevant classification and searching by classification too - if you don't find anything similar on espacenet you may wish to consider having someone carry out a search for you.
We have access to several databases which we can use to do this - there is a charge of £45.00 + VAT for this service. For more information tel:0113 2478266
3. If, having satisfied yourself that there are no pre-existing applications and nothing similar on the market place you decide that you would like to protect your idea or invention in some way it might be worth looking at the costs involved and the different ways of protecting inventions, designs etc. We can send copies of the relevant booklets or the links to the on-line versions are here:
We also offer free half hour appointments with a CIPA patent attorney at our monthly clinics - http://leedsinventorsgroup.blogspot.com/2008/10/patent-clinics.html
You may also be interested in attending the monthly meetings of the Leeds Inventors group - we have speakers who talk on all aspects of getting inventions into the marketplace:
Leeds Inventor Group: