Patent validity and grounds of invalidity
Patent validity and grounds of invalidity

The following IP guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Patent validity and grounds of invalidity
  • Grounds for patent revocation
  • Novelty (anticipation)
  • Obviousness
  • Lack of entitlement to patent
  • Insufficiency
  • Added matter
  • Priority

A ‘patent’ is a document conferring so-called monopoly rights to an inventor following a formal application and registration procedure. A patent protects new inventions and may cover aspects such as how things work, what they are made of and how they are made. The rationale behind patents is that they encourage innovation by rewarding the patent owner with 20 or more years during which they can prevent others from making, using, importing or selling the invention without permission (even if they are not deliberately infringing), which is why they are said to confer ‘monopoly’ rights.

For more information about how to apply for a patent at the UK Intellectual Property Office—the official government body responsible for granting intellectual property rights in the UK, the European Patent Office (EPO) and World Intellectual Property Office, see Practice Notes:

  1. Applying for a UK national patent

  2. Applying for a European Patent

  3. Applying for a patent under the Patent Cooperation Treat

Grounds for patent revocation

Examiners cannot exhaustively check that all of the criteria have been fulfilled prior to grant. For example, they cannot check all of the prior art worldwide to ensure that the invention is new (prior art is explained below). Therefore, something relatively similar to the invention may already be known. Consequently, in the UK there is no presumption of validity for a