A claim of a patent which stands alone and is not dependent or related to an earlier claim. During infringement and validity considerations, such a claim is read by itself without influence from other claims.
The invention to which a patent relates must be capable of being put into practice. Ideas that cannot practically exist cannot be patented, for example, a perpetual motion machine.
Patent infringement occurs when the rights of the Patentee are breached. A person infringes a UK patent, if while it is in force, they do any of the following in the UK without the consent of the proprietor: a) If a patent product – make, offer to dispose, use, import or keep the product; b) If a patented process – use or offer to use the process in the UK where it is known or would be obvious that it would infringe to do so; c) If a patented process: offer to dispose, use, import or keep any product obtained directly by the process.
Ignorance of the fact that a patent exists in respect of a product, or that a particular work is copyrighted, is a partial defence to an allegation of infringement. Innocent infringement is still infringement, but damages are not recoverable by the right holder. The onus is on the infringer though to prove that they were not aware, and had no reasonable grounds for supposing, that rights existed. It is not enough simply to fail take reasonable steps to investigate whether rights exist.
Intellectual Property is the umbrella term covering the intangible property assets that result from original creative and inventive thought, including patents, copyright material, aesthetic designs, and trademarks.
Intellectual Property Office (IPO)
The operating name of The Patent Office. The official government body responsible for intellectual property rights in the UK. See – ipo.gov.uk.
Intellectual Property Regulation Board (IPReg)
The Intellectual Property Regulation Board is the body responsible for regulating the Patent Attorney and Trade Mark attorney professions in the UK.
International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA)
During the international phase of a PCT application, an applicant has the option of requesting examination. The IPEA is the official body who carries out substantive examination.
International Preliminary Examination Report (IPER)
This is the work product of the IPEA, and is normally based on the Written Opinion (see ISR below) and any amendments / comments / arguments filed by the applicant. The IPER is published around 30 months from the filing (or priority) date.
International Preliminary Report on Patentability (IPRP)
This is normally based on either the Written Opinion of the ISA or the IPER of the IPEA if examination was undertaken during the international phase. The IPRP is forwarded to the applicant no later than 2 months before national / regional phase processing commences and is made available to the public around 30 months from the filing (or priority) date.
International Searching Authority (ISA)
This is the official body that carries out a detailed search relating to the patentability of an invention during the international phase of a PCT application.
International Search Report (ISR)
This is the document issued by the ISA as a result of their search. The ISR typically lists documents considered relevant to the novelty and/or invention step of the invention, and usually identifies the specific claim(s) of the application to which the citations are considered relevant.
For the applicant, the ISR is accompanied by a non-binding ‘Written Opinion’ on the patentability of the invention. The opinion is non-binding on the national / regional patent offices that receive the application for national/regional phase processing. The Written Opinion is only made public around 30 months from the filing (or priority) date of the application.
Inventive step is one of the requirements of patentability. An invention must involve an inventive step; an inventive step is present when the invention would not be obvious to a person skilled in the art. In patent law, the terms inventive step and non-obviousness are used interchangeably.
An inventor is the actual devisor of the invention. This is someone who has contributed to the technical content of the patent application. Inventors have a legal right to be mentioned in the patent application (see ‘Mention of Inventor’).