When you receive the notification that your patent has been published, you may feel inclined to call your partners, pop a bottle of champagne, and celebrate your success. But we’d strongly advise against this.
Just because your patent is published does not mean it’s granted. In essence, a published patent is a public way of stating your application has been received and is currently under review.
We’re often asked if a patent is published, is it granted? So, to help clear things up, let’s take a closer look at granted vs published patent status.
Approximately 18 months after filing for your patent, you will receive a published patent application, also known as an A publication. However, published patents do not grant the patentee the right to immediately proceed to enforce their patent rights.
The process of publishing patents is automatic. It doesn’t mean your patent has been examined, it simply informs others in the industry of your invention while the examination process continues. This fosters greater innovation across industries as peers can be aware of what new ideas are being worked on.
Once your patent is granted, you have a legal entitlement to stop others benefiting from your work. More specifically, your work is protected for a determined time frame as competitors will not be able to:
- Sell or intend to sell
- Dispose of a patented product, process, or a product produced directly as a result of a patented process.
On grant of a patent application, the patentee is given the right to bring proceedings against an infringing party for their actions dating back to the publication date of the patent application. The patentee is only entitled to this backdating if the infringing acts would have infringed the claim(s) of the patent application both as published and as granted.
Note that this action is only available to the patentee when the patent is granted, not when the patent is published.
How Long After Publication is Patent Granted?
After your published patent application, you can wait anywhere from several months to a few years for your patent to be granted. The duration of the granted vs published patent process depends on various factors, such as the complexity of your innovation, the number of applications under examination, and whether any objections are raised during the examination stage.
Can a Patent Be Published but Not Granted?
Yes, a patent can be published but not granted. As we previously noted, your patent will automatically be published around 18 months after filing. Publication only makes the details of your application public to others while the examination process begins.
Published patents go through a comprehensive examination process in which the patent office will determine whether your innovation meets the validity criteria. Patents are only granted to inventions that are:
- Capable of industrial application
If examiners identify any issues with your patent, they will raise objections to your application. However, the applicant can respond to these objections, make necessary changes, or provide supporting arguments in a bid to bypass the objections to avoid rejection of the application. Overall, the goal is for any objections to be eliminated and for the patent to be approved.
What Are the Jurisdictions of Granted Patents in UK and Across Europe?
If your UK published patent application is successful, you will have full legal protection within the United Kingdom; however, you may not have the same protection elsewhere. If you would like to stop others from making, selling, or using your invention outside of the UK, you will need to apply for a patent with the respective national jurisdiction, or with a regional jurisdiction such as the European Patent Organisation (EPO), before your invention is made public either through use or public disclosure. Public disclosure also includes prior publication of your own previous patent applications! This why we strongly advise discussing your coverage and filing strategy with us at an early stage.
A granted patent filed with the EPO will offer you similar legal protection in more than 30 European countries, including the UK. You only have to file one application which is examined centrally by the EPO, and on grant you may decide which of the EPO member states you wish to proceed with distinct granted patents in.. To secure this patent, you can apply directly through the EPO or the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO).
If you only want to patent your invention in a few countries, you can also apply to each office individually. Find out more about recent developments in the EPO here.
How to Check the Status of Your UK Patent?
If you’re eager to see how your published UK patent application is progressing, you can check the status by visiting the UKIPO website.
Simply search for your UK patent application on the online services platform by providing the necessary details, and checking your application status. Here, you will see if your application is still pending, granted, or whether there are outstanding actions you’ll need to take.