Recording and assessing your invention

If you're thinking about patenting your latest invention, recording the details properly can help you assess the business case for filing a patent application, and can make your patent attorney's job quicker and easier - which will save you time and money.

Not every innovation will support your business equally; some will be key to developing your market position, while others will be clever but not relevant to any of your products. In each case, the invention should be written up by someone in the team that generated it. We've put together an Invention Disclosure form to help you do this - it's on the Resources page of our web site. Feel free to share it with your colleagues.

Although writing up an Invention Disclosure can feel a little painful at first, experience shows that the process is very useful in distilling an invention, identifying problems which need to be solved and coming up with variations which can be tried. Doing some searching to identify existing technology aimed at the same problem can also help determine whether the invention is really new, and whether there is a potential gap in the market. You can carry out some simple patent searching on the Espacenet patent database.

Once the invention has been recorded, it should be reviewed by someone responsible for technical strategy and with knowledge of your business strategy, usually the CTO or someone reporting to them. They need to work out how important the invention is and decide whether it is sufficiently important to spend some of your patent budget on. An intellectual property strategy or a patent filing strategy are useful tools in making this assessment. More about these will appear on our Resources page in the near future.

Having decided to go ahead with a patent application, the next step is to contact your patent attorney, give them your Invention Disclosure and arrange a meeting/call to discuss it.