To be patentable, your idea must be “novel” – that is, different from anything disclosed publicly before the filing date of your patent application.
Novelty and Inventiveness
This is why it is essential to ensure your invention is kept secret at least until you file your patent application, because any disclosure by you could invalidate your patent.
If you absolutely must disclose your invention, make sure it is in strict confidence. We can provide you with a confidentiality agreement for this purpose.
The idea must also be inventive. This means it would not have been obvious to someone with a good knowledge of the relevant technical field.
We can carry out searches to locate relevant earlier documents that could affect the novelty or inventiveness of your idea, and provide advice on their significance. See our patent searching page for further details.
Some ideas aren’t patentable even if they are new and inventive. These include some types of abstract ideas, aesthetic creations, mathematical methods, business methods and some computer programs. However this area is complex so it is important to seek professional advice before assuming your idea isn’t patentable.