Layman’s guide to patents


A patent is a legal means for you to prevent others from making use of an invention. It is also a piece of property in its own right that can be bought and sold, licensed and so on. If somebody makes unauthorised use of your patented invention then – in appropriate circumstances – the patent gives you a basis to sue. A patent can also serve as a visible deterrent to competitors wishing to imitate your technology.

The term “invention” in this context is impossible to define but if you have solved a real problem in a new way, and if that solution has commercial importance, then it’s worth discussing whether there is an invention involved. Odd as it may seem, holding a patent does not guarantee you the right to put your invention into practice. To see why, consider a contrived example where you have patented the wheel and then I invent the first bicycle. I can get a patent for my bike but I will still need a licence from you before I can put wheels on it.

Companies that use innovative technology need to keep patents in mind not only as a means of protecting their own creations but also as a stick their competitors might use to beat them with. We can help with both offensive and defensive strategies.

Working with us

We know the law but it’s you that best understands your technology and your market. Strong patents that serve your commercial goals are typically the result of a close and lasting collaboration between patent attorney and client. Client relationships are all important to Bartle Read and in order to foster them we are:


 …in the way that we work with you. Lines of reporting should be set up for your convenience, not ours.


We will often need you to take decisions or to give technical input, but in matters of patent law it is always us that should be proposing solutions to problems.

Plain Spoken

Patents and patent law are ridden with jargon but it’s our job to make sense of it for you, not to bamboozle you with it.
Got a question? Please don't hesitate to ask it Contact us

Bartle Read
Liverpool Science Park
131 Mount Pleasant
Liverpool L3 5TF
United Kingdom

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