What can be patented?
A patent can be granted for an article, process or substance which is new and capable of industrial application, and the conception of which has involved an inventive step. This definition will always be the subject of argument, and advice should be sought if there is any doubt as to whether a particular invention is of a type suitable for patent protection. Certain types of invention are excluded, for example purely abstract, scientific or mathematical theories; financial and other business schemes and purely aesthetic creations, though the latter may be protected by copyright and may, in some cases, be suitable for registered design protection (discussed below).
Even if an invention is of a type suitable for a patent application, there is no guarantee that the application will be successful. All applications are subject to a search made by the Patent Office to establish whether they are new and whether a genuinely inventive advance has been made. Where it is proposed to spend large sums on patenting, we would always recommend having a novelty search carried out first. We can, for example, carry out a computer based search of world-wide patents.