Handbag geeks - how registered designs work

Despite being a pretty inexpensive and easy way to protect a new product, registered designs are not straightforward. They are not examined in any great detail, and as such the owner really has little idea how strong or weak his or her design is.

That's why understanding how design law works is important. A recent case heard by the General Court of the EU covers the all-important idea of "individual character".

Watching your competitors- or getting your head out of the sand

I am constantly amazed that more clients don't do (and have never considered) competitor watching. Patents offer a well codified, fully searchable insight into your competitors' R&D efforts, and a simple monthly alert can give you a heads-up on what they are working on.

5 tips for patent searching - how to get ahead of the game

There are two main reasons-

  1. Freedom to operate. This search seeks to answer the question "will I infringe anyone else's patent if I make / sell / import this item?". 
  2. Patentability. In other words- "can I get a patent for this?".

Searching is a complex art which most patent attorneys avoid like the plague- we tend to outsource to specialists. That said, as an aspiring inventor with a good idea, there is some preliminary searching you can do yourself to get a head start. Here are 5 tips to get you started.

Subsidised IP Audits- what are they and how do you get them?

The UK government offers heavily subsidised IP audits for qualifying companies. You basically pay £400 for a highly detailed £3000 audit (the Intellectual Property Office - or IPO - picks up the rest of the bill) which will enable your business to put together an IP strategy.

The Great Patent Give-away

Has the world gone crazy? Are companies spending millions on R&D, tens of thousands on patent protection and just giving it all away? Tesla, Ford, Toyota - all have attracted headlines along the lines of "Company X opens up patent portfolio" or "Company Y gives away patents". But what's really going on?