Patent tradition in Britain can be traced back to the 15th century, when the
Crown began to make specific grants of privilege to manufacturers and traders.
The earliest known English patent was for a method of making stained glass. It
was granted directly by king Henry VI to John of Utynam in 1449. This patent
gave John a 20-year monopoly for his new method.
Henry VI and John of Utynam would be awestruck by the technical and legal
complexity of today?s United Kingdom patents system. Gone are the days when the
king simply granted monopoly rights to an invention. Today?s UK patents process
is regulated mainly by the Patents Act of 1977. This legislation has been
updated over the years, most significantly by the Copyright, Designs and Patents
Act of 1988. The procedural details of the patents system are contained in the
Patents Rules of 1995 and subsequent amendments. Today, the Patents County
Court, and occasionally the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords, provide
interpretation of these pieces of legislation.
Important Points on UK Patents Content and Text
UK Patent Applications will generally contain the same information that is
available in existing LexisNexis patent files. Data components such as the
patent publication number, issued date, the application number, filed date,
inventor name, class, assignee, abstract, detailed description, and claims will
appear in UK Patents when they are published by the UK Patent Office. Please
keep in mind the following special limitations:
At this time, the UK Patent Office does not provide images of exemplary drawings
of the inventions. Therefore, the UK Patent Applications file on Lexis does not
provide this feature. If these images become available in the future, they will
be provided on Lexis.
The UK Patent Office currently publishes the full text of UK Patents
Applications only in hardcopy. In order to create searchable, electronic files
the hardcopy text is converted to electronic format through an optical scanning
(OCR) process. The OCR process is a reliable method of converting documents
into electronic form; however, some characters may be converted incorrectly.
Since the text is not published electronically, it does not contain internal
markup that identifies tabular material. The tabular material in the UK Patents
text will appear unformatted.
Due to errors in some of the older application numbers received from the UK
Patent Office, data in the APPL-NO segment may be inaccurate or missing for
documents dated before 1975. For documents that fall within this date range,
lexis.com users may consult the PDF of the Official Patent to identify the
correct application number. In some patents, the correct application number
appears in the DET-DESC segment.
PLEASE NOTE: On lexis.com and nexis.com, the United Kingdom Patent Application
file provides access to the official patent and patent family report in PDF
format. A transactional charge of $5.00 for US patents and $6.00 for non-US
patents is incurred when an active link to the official patent in PDF format is
clicked. A transactional charge of $6.00 is incurred when an active link to the
patent family report is clicked. Patent family reports are the same price for
both US and non-US. This charge is NOT included in subscription pricing.
Subsequent access to these links until 12:00 AM EST does NOT incur additional
charges. After that time, the link(s) may appear to be active, but will not
retrieve a PDF file.