Technical Character: In brief, inventions that are the subject of a European patent application must have at least one technical feature in them in order to be eligible for grant. It is this technical feature which must meet the requirements for novelty and inventive step.
Term: This is the duration of an intellectual property right. Patents last for 20yrs from the filing date. Registered designs in the UK and Europe last for 5yrs from the filing date, renewable 4 times up to a maximum of 25yrs. Registered trademarks last indefinitely upon payment of renewal fees every 10yrs.
The Patent Box: The Patent Box enables companies in the UK to benefit from a lower rate of Corporation Tax to profits earned after 1 April 2013 from its patented inventions. The relief will be phased in from 1 April 2013 and the lower rate of tax to be applied will be 10 percent. See - The Patent Box.
Trademark: This is an indicator of the origin of goods or services.
Trade secret: A patent application or design registration confers a monopoly on a product, process, or design. However, disclosure of the invention or design is required and, at the end of the period of the right, the invention will be in the public domain and available for anyone to use or copy. An inventor (particularly of a process) might therefore choose not to patent the process, but to keep it a secret whilst also using it for commercial gain. In doing this, he might hope to maintain a monopoly over the use of his inventive process for longer than the period of protection conferred by a patent. This is a risky strategy, however. The law offers relatively little protection for trade secrets and, whilst the inventor may be entitled to damages in breach of confidence if someone (for example, an ex-employee) discloses the process, there is nothing to stop others using it once disclosed, and there is no protection at all from an independent inventor coming up with the same idea.
Translation: Patent applications may be filed at UKIPO in either English or Welsh, but if filed in Welsh a translation must be supplied within a set period.