When entering licence negotiations, or enforcing your intellectual property rights, understanding the strength of your patent provides the confidence required to capitalise on your intellectual property assets. Conversely, when navigating around the granted rights of others it is important to know whether those rights are valid and to maximise the prospect of finding relevant prior art.

Our tailor-made search and analysis strategy will ensure that you are in command of your intellectual property portfolio, helping to manage risk to yourself and your business.

Patent office grant isn’t always the end of the road when it comes to testing the scope of patent protection. Invalidity actions are often a suitable response to allegations of patent infringement, but they can also be used to clear the way where a significant freedom to operate risk has been identified.

There is a nine-month window following grant of a European patent in which competitors can challenge its validity at the European Patent Office. Our Oppositions team have extensive expertise in both pursuing and defending these actions, with a success rate greater than other leading firms. We have experience of challenging and defending the validity of UK patents in the Chancery Division of the High Court and in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court. As a cheaper and quicker alternative we can represent you in proceedings before the UK Intellectual Property Office. These include both full revocation proceedings, and even more economical validity opinions.

Of course there’s no need to wait for a competitor’s patent to be granted before taking action to protect your business interests. Both the UK Intellectual Property Office and European Patent Office allow third parties to make observations on pending patent applications, including citing prior art documents believed to demonstrate lack of novelty or inventive step of the subject matter. We have experienced considerable success in using these procedures to force amendment of competitor patent claims away from our client’s commercial activities and to prevent grant of competitor patents altogether.

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