IP Information & News

Should I hire a patent attorney?

Recent United Kingdom Patent Office statistics show that it’s worth hiring a patent attorney to draft and prosecute your UK patent applications as, not only will the patent application be of a professional standard, it will be nearly twice as likely to be granted by the patent office.

We all know that innovation can be quite expensive. There are significant costs and pressures involved in developing a new product and bringing it to market. For many start-ups and small businesses, funds are tight and expenditure needs to be prioritised.

Can I save money by preparing and filing it myself?

Whilst it’s possible for anyone to file their own patent application at the UK Patent Office (UKIPO), unless you have some experience of patent drafting, we strongly recommend that you hire a patent attorney to do this for you. A patent application is a legal document and if it’s not worded correctly, it may not provide any useful protection for your invention. It’s important to note that no additional information can be added into a patent application after it’s filed.

Am I more likely to get my patent application granted if I have professional representation?

To get an unbiased answer to this question, we filed a freedom of information request at the UKIPO to obtain data regarding patent applications filed with and without professional representation from 2005 to 2016.

Before a patent application can be granted, it must be examined by the UKIPO. Below is a graph showing the number of patent applications filed each year for which a request for examination (patent form ten) was filed. This uses the data received from the UKIPO.

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This shows that far more applications proceed to examination if they have professional representation. The number of applications with a form ten filed is lower for 2016, as many of these applications have not reached this stage of prosecution yet.

We then determined the percentage of these application which are known to have been granted following examination. We disregarded the data for 2015 and 2016, as the patent examination process in the UK generally takes a number of years, so very few application filed in the last two years will have been granted.

Below is the graph illustrating the percentage data:

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This graph indicates that you are on average 1.7 times more likely to be granted a patent if you have professional representation.

Of course, these graphs cannot measure the quality of the patents granted. A patent granted using professional representation is much more likely to be commercially valuable than one filed and prosecuted by someone with little or no experience of patent law and procedures.

In summary, it’s worth hiring a patent attorney to draft and prosecute your UK patent applications as, not only will the patent application be of a professional standard, it’s nearly twice as likely to be granted by the patent office.

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