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1) Innovation indicators: great ideas, caution points, warnings, concern areas
2) Could you get a patent?
3) Is your idea new?
4) Patent information              
Business information                                                                   Send us a comment
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Checking whether your idea is patentable

Follow this flow chart to determine whether you are likely to be eligible for a patent.

This flow chart is aimed at the uninitiated, and assumes the user does not have a
practitioners grasp of the issues. As such it is loosely worded and only a rough guide.
It does not deal adequately with many issues. Patentability is a complicated issue that
must be addressed by a professional on a case-by-case basis.

Don't forget that novelty and inventiveness is essential to patentability (these issues
are not addressed here) and that it may be very important what part of your business
plan is inventive.

Please do not base your actions solely on this flow chart.
                                          What is your innovation?

A Physical Product       A Physical Process            A Physical Service          An Online Service                 Software                       A Game                   None of these
(toy, gadget)               (manufacture method)           (delivery service)           (ordering system)  (an online trading system)    (3D chess)
Is it purely

No             Yes
Must it involve

Yes               No
Does it require an
inventive device or
inventive physical
process involving an
inventive device?
Yes                   No
Is it controlled
by software in a
new way?

No         Yes
Is it essential that
the software
controls a physical
action (printer,
vehicle, TV)
Yes                    No
Does it require new
pieces, a new
board, or both new
rules and old board
or pieces?
Yes                    No
But does it
involve one
of them?

Yes        No
Does it solve a
technical problem?
Increasing a user's
efficiency might pass
this test.

Yes                  No
Focus on the product,
software or service and
start again. See if there
is an essential element
of your business plan
which is both inventive
and protectable
A) Patent protection quite likely to be available
assuming your invention is new and inventive
B) Patent protection fairly unlikely to be available
in Europe but might be available in the USA
assuming your invention is new and inventive
If your invention is an artistic work or a collection of information then you may
be able to protect it with copyright.
If it is a clever trademark, domain name or car licence plate then you can
register it but you could be sued if it should belong to a famous company,
organisation or person.
If it is a novelty 3D design you may be able to register the design.
If it is a pure mathematical or computational algorithm, look for a use for it.
If it is a way of doing business, or a way of thinking about a problem then you
may be able to protect it in the USA.
If it is a new standard of business or behaviour, consider registering a
certificate trademark, and setting up an organisation to handle it's use.
Read how to determine whether your invention is new.
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Nothing on this site constitutes legal advice, an offer, an offer to treat or a legal relationship.
Always check with your IP consultant.

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