"Should I Patent My Idea?"

Patents, design Registrations and other forms of IP Protection

If you have an idea you may want to consider protecting it in some way from being copied by others. Intellectual Property or IP is the term given to the creative work of an individual or company. This could be a product idea, invention or design.Patents are one form of IP Protection, but they might not always be the most appropriate route for your project. Here you will find an overview of the key types of design protection and how they fit into the product design process.

Product Patents and Design Registrations

patent idea search. Do I need to patent my idea. Intellectual property

Types of IP Protection


“A patent protects new inventions and covers how things work, what they do, how they do it, what they are made of and how they are made. If a patent application is granted, it gives the owner the ability to take a legal action under civil law to try to stop others from making, using, importing or selling the invention without permission.” www.ipo.gov.uk
Patents are generally considered to be the best method of protecting an invention and are recognised globally. Unfortunately the process to patent an invention idea can be expensive and complex and often require a patent attorney in order to ensure they are described and detailed correctly. It is possible to patent an invention or design yourself and the Intellectual Property Office offers advice to help. Idea Reality can provide the necessary drawings and diagrams in suitable formats for your patent application or file an application for you through our recommended patent attorneys..

design registration drawing

Types of IP Protection

Design Registration

“A Registered Design grants exclusive rights in the look and appearance of your product. You can stop people making, offering, putting on the market, importing, exporting, using or stocking for those purposes, a product to which your design is applied.” www.ipo.gov.uk
Whilst a Registered Design does not give protection to the way your invention works it does protect its form and appearance. The existence of your registration may be enough to deter someone from copying your design all together and is a very cost effective way of officially registering your design. It also allows you to sell or licence your designs to somebody else to use. Idea Reality can help draw up your designs and plans in respect to officially registering your design and patent an invention idea.

Flushbrush sketch of concepts

Types of IP Protection

Design Right

In the UK all new designs are automatically covered by Design Right. This is a UK legal protection given to unregistered designs. Design Right covers the internal and external 3 dimensional shape or configuration of an original design and lasts for 15 years (10 years from first marketing). The holder of the Design Right has exclusive use of the design for commercial purposes however if they wish to stop someone from infringing their Design Right they must be able to prove that they created the original design.

Idea Reality can help an inventor or company fully draw up their ideas and designs so that they have a record of the work for the purposes of Design Right. The simplest thing to then do is have a copy of the design documents sent to yourself (and also your solicitor for added protection) via a postal service such as Royal Mail Special Delivery in a sealed tamper-proof envelope. The official postage stamps and receipt should then prove to a court that the idea was yours first.

Design Right can only go so far to protect your IP because it has not been officially registered by the Intellectual Property Office and you must be able to prove your ownership.

The journey to protecting a product idea

Protecting your idea is very important but can also be incredibly expensive and time consuming; with patents typically taking at least 4 years to complete. Therefore it's important to understand the process, timings and cost involved to establish what is the best route for your project.


IP Protection in the Design Process

Prototype, Test and Iterate before Protecting

If you decide securing a patent is the best solution for your invention then prototype design is a crucial stage of the idea to product journey - enabling you to include all necessary details associated with the design within your product patent application.

At this stage - known as prototype development - the design is likely to change, evolve and improve considerably, rendering an early patent application obsolete.

Concept Idea Workshop

IP Protection in the Design Process

Documenting Your Invention Idea

If you are from the UK, you will be automatically covered by Design Right as soon as you create your ideas, and you must document the process of idea to product as you go as a way of protecting your intellectual property.

IP Protection in the Design Process

Choosing between a Patent...

The cost of a patent can vary depending on the complexity of the product and the territories you apply for protection within. A patent should be written by a patent attorney and as such is a legal document. It is important that the patent application be strong and well written in order to stand up to any contest in court.

A typical simple patent in the UK will cost approx £2000+vat for an initial application, full European patents can average £30,000, and worldwide protection only increases costs further. As your product patent application progresses, further requirements and fees must be paid to see it through to become granted. The whole process can take 4 years.

IP Protection in the Design Process

... or a Design Registration

Design registration is much cheaper than patenting and a good alternative in some cases. The difference is that a design registration protects the appearance, form and shape of a product whereas a patent protects how it works.

UK Design registrations start from £795+vat. Cost for EU registrations start from £1750. The application process of a design registration is much quicker than the one of a patent, and could be completed in less than a month.

patent drawing product design

IP Protection in the Design Process

Registration Drawings

We work with skilled patent attorneys to ensure your product invention idea is communicated effectively within a patent application or design registration. We provide professional patent and design registration drawings and illustrations, tailored to your application to ensure best value and protection.


IP Protection in the Design Process

Product Launching - Be The First To Market

There is a good argument for investing the time, effort and money you would have put into a patent application on getting your product designed, developed, and on the market before anyone else.

Establishing your product or brand as the original and best can often be of greater value than getting a patent.

Once established, the money generated from sales can be used on further developments and product design improvements, enabling the product to be properly patented and funded.

It's important to note that, whilst your product is being sold, any competitors will be unable to patent an idea that is already existing, being sold or has been made public, but you should always ensure you can prove the idea and/or product design was originally yours.


IP Protection in the Design Process

Continuous Innovation...

Once your idea hits the market don’t just sit back. By being the first past the post and constantly developing and innovating can enable you to stay ahead of the curve. Whilst your competitor is figuring out how to compete with your product you can already be developing the next version.

Patent Advice Video:

• What does a product patent cost?

• Is is essential to patent my idea?

• What else can you do to protect a product idea?

• Should I still get a patent search even if not patenting?

Need help protecting your idea?

Idea Reality can help you protecting your idea. Whether you have an existing design you wish to draw up or simply an idea on paper we can put all the information together to get your idea protected. Get in touch to get personalised advice to your project.

In case you didn't know

Here’s some great reasons to work with us…

  • You retain 100% of your idea including new IP we develop for you.
  • All communication is strictly confidential and free NDA forms provided.
  • You control the pace of your project and the route you take.
  • Personal service with your own experienced design manager to guide you.
  • Our service is low cost to suit start-ups, inventors and small businesses.
  • Benefit from our network of professionals across multiple disciplines.
  • Specialists in crowdfunding and other forms of investment & licencing.
  • Benefit from our years of experience and efficient product design service.
  • Explore the options with a FREE consultation and product idea advice.

Idea Reality provides award winning product design, product development, prototyping and 3D CAD services. We specialise in working with clients within the UK, USA and Europe. Offering assistance to individuals, start-ups and established companies, with a product idea requiring development or existing product ranges that need improving.

Our main office is in Andover within Hampshire, UK and we have meeting facilities in central London. With a modern efficient service utilising the benefits of online collaboration you can remain comfortable with the pace and breadth of your project. Our goal is to deliver great product ideas to market.

  • New Product Design and Development
  • 3D CAD Design and Drawing
  • Product Prototyping
  • Product Launch Support
  • Manufacture design and support