In general terms all ‘Inventions’ are the subjects of ‘Innovative development; however, Innovations are not always an Invention within the meaning ascribed thereto by the UK Patent Act 1977.
The Collins English Dictionary definition of ‘innovation’ is ‘something newly introduced, such as a new method or device’ and ‘the act of innovating’.
The act of innovating extends to all things that are developed from scratch, such as new ‘business methods’, which exhibit a degree of initiative by the creator thereof.
The Collins English Dictionary definition of ‘invention’ is, inter alia, ‘the act or process of inventing’, ‘something that is invented’, and, according to Patent Law, ‘the discovery or production of some new or improved process or machine that is both useful and is not obvious to a person skilled in a particular field’.
3. ‘INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY’
The common thread between Innovation and Invention is that one or the other will be the Intellectual Property (IP) of the creator and will need to be treated with due care until an innovative process or business plan is implemented or steps have been taken to obtain patent protection for an invention falling within the meaning ascribed thereto by the UK Patents Act 1977.
4. CONFIDENTIALITY IN BUSINESS PLANS
In order to fully protect the business interests of a Company and/or the creator(s) in regard to implementation of a new business plan, it is of paramount import that the dissemination of confidential information relating to the business plan is only to those with a ‘need to know’ so that they may discharge there responsibilities as employees of the Company.
To broadcast the details of any new business protocol or objectives of the business before implementation thereof may lead to an adverse business situation vis a vis the companies competitors.
5. CONFIDENTIALITY IN INVENTIONS
In order to fully protect the interests of a company and/or the creator(s) in respect of an invention, it is essential to avoid, without exception, the publication of any details of the invention before a patent application has been filed at the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) in whichever jurisdiction the invention is created or where the most advantageous business opportunities may be exploited.
Remember to keep the wraps on any new innovative business venture until it is launched.
Ensure that all details of a new invention are maintained as a closely guarded secret until patent protection has been sought by filing a Patent Application at the UK-IPO or any other IPO in a jurisdiction where business interests are the most rewarding.
Ensure that disclosure within, or without, the company is only on a strictly applied ‘need to know’ basis.
Insist on watertight Non Disclosure Agreement(s) (NDAs) as between non-company personnel in relation to the disclosure of any developments or business plans, etc.
Always seek the advice of IP professionals if in doubt.
*John Grant is Senior Patent Attorney at Trevor Baylis Brands (TBB) plc. TBB has provided advice to thousands of individuals and companies on the best way to develop their business and protect their intellectual property. Building Enterprise (BE) Ltd is a new development from TBB offering a one-stop shop for innovation development, helping to take initial ideas through to a successful commercial outcome.*
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