Appleyard Lees


One of the challenges in protecting manufacturing Intellectual Property is first realising that you have Intellectual Property to protect. Patents may be available for the machinery used to produce an item, the process journey that a product goes through during manufacture and the end product itself.

And there are other problems. If your invention is a better/quicker/cheaper method for manufacturing a staple product which is indistinguishable from the same made by other companies then, in the absence of evidence of a competitor’s manufacturing method, which may be hard to obtain, it will be very hard to establish whether you can assert your rights.

So you are faced with a dilemma. If you seek patent protection, your invention will ultimately be published, and your invention disclosed. An unscrupulous company can then use your process reasonably secure in the knowledge that you have no way of knowing that they are using your technology for commercial gain. However, if you do not seek a patent, you increase the chance of a third party asserting their rights against you with nothing in your armoury to negotiate with.

We will help you assess the likely impact on your business of having and not having a patent, your prospects of keeping your invention secret, and your chances of getting a patent that is of commercial value despite being unlikely to enforce it against third parties. For example, you may not appreciate licensing opportunities that a patent provides, how it can be used for raising capital or reducing your corporation tax bill.

Our attorneys, some of whom have worked as engineers designing and commissioning manufacturing plants for power stations, ships, cars, aircraft and turbo machinery, have a great deal of experience in identifying the subtleties which can be protected by a patent, and of maximising their potential to your business in innovative ways.