All patent applications are subject to a search procedure. This search involves establishing any evidence of disclosure of the invention before the filing (or priority) date of the patent application. Such evidence might be found in existing patents, websites, journals and books. Oral disclosures may also be taken into account depending on the jurisdiction. Similar inventions relevant to the inventive step of the new invention may also be identified and reported.
A Shape Mark is a non-conventional Trade Mark, which is composed of shapes. The scope of Shape Marks can extend to three-dimensions. Accordingly, it is possible to register the shape of the packaging or the shape of the product itself as a Trade Mark.
In the United Kingdom and Europe, computer programs “as such” are specifically excluded from patentability. Many computer programs will also fall foul of the exclusion covering “a scheme, rule or method for performing a mental act, playing a game or doing business.” Software patents are therefore very difficult to obtain in the UK and Europe. However, it may be possible to patent a method implemented by a computer if the method itself would be patentable. A program which controlled and enabled a novel and inventive industrial process, for example, may be patentable.
A Sound Mark is a non-conventional Trade Mark, which consists exclusively of a sound or a combination of sounds. A Sound Trade Mark uses sound to uniquely identify the commercial origin of the goods or services.