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What are patents?

A patent is a legal right granted to an inventor or assignee by a government, which gives them exclusive control over the manufacturing, selling, and use of an invention or process for a limited period of time within a certain territory.

Patent rights mean the owner can prevent others from manufacturing, selling or using the same invention or process in the country where it was granted without their permission. A patent can allow the owner to take legal action against someone who uses the invention without permission. A patent owner also has the right to license or sell their patent to others.

To have a patent granted the invention must be:

  • New (not available or described in a publication elsewhere in the world)
  • Inventive (not an obvious amendment to an existing invention)
  • Can be tangibly made or used, a technical process or a method of doing something
Patent strategy

Our Patent Strategy Services

We draft, file and prosecute UK, European and International patent applications direct with the UK Intellectual Property Office and European Patent Office. We are able to file and prosecute patent applications in other countries worldwide through our network of trusted foreign attorneys. We also can advise on infringement and validity of patents, including litigation advice and support; patent licensing; opposition or revocation of granted patents; and ownership disputes.

After reviewing the invention and the decision to file a patent is made, the first step in the process is to draft the patent. We work with you to review your technology and identify patentable inventions within it, obtaining prior art searches if required and applying our technical abilities to draft patents that meet the commercial needs of your business and are appropriate to your internal and external patent landscapes. Prior to filing at the patent offices we will ensure your approval of any content within the specification.

A patent prosecution includes both writing and filing a patent application before pursuing protection for the application with the relevant patent offices. We are experienced in filing and prosecuting patent applications through to grant in the UK, Europe and internationally. Throughout the filing and prosecution stages, including pre-grant and post-grant phases, we will represent you and liaise on your behalf with the patent office examiner to argue your case for invention, using our trusted process to move your patent applications through quicky and efficiently for the best possible commercial outcome.

Opinions are usually either requested by the patent holder or licensee when an infringement of their patent is suspected or by a person/business concerned that their patent may pose an infringement risk to an existing patent. At Hargreaves Elsworth we have a wealth of experience in providing both infringement opinions and validity opinions to our clients, whether in relation to a specific patent or as a wider, freedom-to-operate assessment, prior to starting commercial activity.

Our experienced team quickly get to grips with your technology, thoroughly searching public records and databases for any prior art and/or checking any file history of the patent under investigation.

Infringement opinions are useful when you need to understand if your product or process may infringe an existing patent or, conversely, if you suspect a third party may infringe a patent you already own.

Validity opinions are used to ascertain if a patent is valid. This could be if you are launching a new process/product and would like to check the validity of or even invalidate an existing patent that you feel may be a threat. Alternatively you may need a validity opinion on your own patent before enforcing it against any third parties.

We have outstanding track record representing clients in oppositions and appeals at the European Patent Office (EPO). We are accustomed to dealing with complex cases and delivering results for our clients, including  conducting oral proceedings on your behalf before the examination, opposition and appeal boards.

We also conduct disputes (e.g. entitlement, validity) before the UK Intellectual Property Office.

We can manage your patent portfolio for best commercial outcome, ensuring your patenting activities are aligned to your business goals and future plans. A solid patent management strategy can not only help defend your business against competitive threats, but also generate revenue and aid with growth.

We work with you to understand the role your patent portfolio must play in your overall business strategy, managing your patents across multiple international patent offices in line with your geographical development aims. Our team also ensure that your patent maintenance remains cost effective in terms of renewal, fees and addresses for service. We also carry out due diligence on patent portfolios and related intellectual property assets, for example when investing in a new venture.

If your business changes then we can ensure your patent ownerships are correctly transferred across all territories in line with your needs. We can also hive off particular areas of technology within patents if required.

Appropriate patent searching identifies potential threats to your intellectual property, enabling you to be more agile in ensuring the ongoing protection of your patent portfolio. Our professional team of patent attorneys can carry out patent searches and freedom-to-operate searches on your behalf across multiple territories. You may wish to monitor the progress of a competitor’s patent or understand if any newly-developing patents and/or technologies may cause infringement issues related to your existing intellectual property. Patentability or prior art searches give us opportunity to identify patentable features of new technology/inventions that could be included within your own patents.

Patent licensing can provide a key stream of income from your intellectual property. A comprehensive licensing strategy not only increases the value of your patent but can open up a wealth of opportunities for future growth.
Using market intelligence and existing patent valuations our expert team can support you in; developing your licensing strategy; ascertaining licensing costs; registering licence agreements and reviewing potential licensees – ultimately ensuring you receive a legal, compliant and commercially-successful agreement.

The Patent Box is a Government scheme allowing UK companies to reduce the amount of Corporation Tax paid in respect of profits relating to inventions protected by a UK patent or other qualifying European patent. The aim of the scheme is to encourage companies to develop and manufacture new products and processes protected by patents in the UK (and some other countries within the European Economic Area). A 10% rate of Corporation Tax will be payable on profits related to income from patented inventions.

Learn more about our Patent Box services


In the UK, the inventor is by default the first owner of the invention.  However, where the inventor is an employee, the rights to the invention usually transfer from the inventor to their employer.

Ownership of inventions is not always straightforward, in particular when working with a third party or with co-development agreements. Entitlement disputes are common in the patent landscape and can be stressful for those involved.  We offer a comprehensive and sensitive service for any entitlement disputes, working to find the most amicable and cost-effective outcome for our client, be that employer or individual.

Your Team

All our team members are qualified as either patent or trade mark attorneys, giving you a high-level of professionalism and delivery. Our friendly team members each carry their own specialisms and background knowledge.

‘I could tell you my adventures–beginning from this morning,’ said Alice a little timidly: ‘but it’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.’

Our Approach

Regardless of whether you are filing a new patent or dealing with an issue concerning existing intellectual property, our simple and proven approach aims to ensure the best possible outcome for your business and intellectual property portfolio.

Medical patent attorney

Get to know your business & invention

The first, important stage is to understand your business and the part your intellectual property plays within it. We do this through meetings and reviews of your files and documentation. It is our job to draw out the uniqueness of your invention at the very start of the process.

Consideration of prior art

If you are aware of existing intellectual property that may impact your desired goal then we would carry out the necessary patent, patentability and freedom-to-operate searches as required to ensure any potential barriers/issues are identified and incorporated into next steps.

Drafting your documentation

We then prepare the necessary documentation in line with the specific project we are working on. This will vary depending on your particular situation and requirements – for example it could be to map out on paper the unique invention for a patent or to prepare complex files for a revocation case.

Approval of drafting

We will then take the time to ensure you are happy with everything we have drafted before moving to the next stage of dealing with the relevant patent offices.


Depending on your specific case, we will then submit our documentation to the relevant patent offices and begin proceedings. With new patent applications we may also request search and examination reports from the patent office – before representing you at the various stages of any amendments to your patent specification.

Representation throughout the process before the relevant patent offices

There may be multiple stages of iterations and negotiations with the patent offices. Our experienced patent attorneys will represent you during these phases, keeping you informed throughout and advising you on how to proceed, obtaining your approval when appropriate.

patent and trademark attorneys

Let us help with your patent requirements

Contact us today with your requirements for a no-obligation response.
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26 Northumberland Square, North Shields, Tyne & Wear, NE30 1PW, UK
T +44 191 269 5477 - F +44 191 247 7102