Lists of sources of invention information and invention support organisations. A work in progress, so feel free to suggest new listings.
These are sites most UK inventors will find useful. Expect most, if not all, to have links of their own to more information.
We’ll try to fatten up our list as time goes on, but from experience it’s a nightmare keeping track of everything that’s going on, so feel free to help us out. Tell us about changes that need making, or to suggest other organisations you think we ought to add. This could include your own, though inclusion in the list has to be at our discretion.
European Patent Office Umbrella body for European national patent offices. Provides a uniform application procedure for anyone seeking patent protection in up to 38 countries. Copious information and many links (including one to a nifty little online Inventor’s Handbook, which we wrote for them!).
Espacenet European Patent Office database providing free access to over 30 million patents. Immensely useful.
UK Intellectual Property Office Superb site with huge amount of information about all forms of IP. Includes searchable design and trade mark databases, downloadable publications, many links.
US Patent and Trade Mark Office US national IP office. Can be useful in understanding sometimes significant differences between US and UK/European IP procedure.
British Library The British Library is a major patent holding library and can provide a range of services, advice and information.
Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys Professional body of UK patent attorneys qualified to handle all aspects of IP. Website includes searchable member list.
Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys Professional body of UK attorneys qualified to handle all aspects of trade marks. Website includes searchable members list.
FreePatentsOnline.com Free patent search site and an extraordinary labour of love by former patent searcher James Ryley. Contains primarily US patents but is easier to search and has more features than the USPTO site.
IP-Centre.org A great site courtesy of IP researcher Marcus Bates. Packed with useful and well-organised links for UK inventors, researchers and businesses with an interest in IP.
US patent attorneys
Michael Neustel A United States Patent Attorney who performs US patentability searches and prepares US patent applications. In addition he’s the originator of PatentWizard, a program that helps inventors prepare and file their own US provisional patent applications. He also runs InventorFraud.com as a public service to help keep inventors safe.
Organisations for inventors
Ideas21..Support organisation for UK inventors. Operates primarily in London and Bristol.
Institute of Patentees & Inventors Long-established representative body for UK inventors but arguably hasn’t kept up with the times.
Product design is extremely important to invention, but not all product design companies understand the needs of inventors. All those listed here have indicated their willingness to work with inventors. We need more though, so if you’re a product designer and want to be on the list, please let us know.
Please note: listings are given on trust and shouldn’t be regarded as direct recommendations from abettermousetrap.co.uk. If we get negative feedback we may at our discretion temporarily or permanently remove listings.
Contact: Stuart Kelly email@example.com
The Polaroid Building
Vale of Leven Ind. Est.
0141 353 4590
13 Rankine House
Port Dundas Business Park
100 Borron Street
Glasgow G4 9XG
0141 564 3530
752-756 Argyle Street
Glasgow G3 8UJ
Flynn Product Design Ltd
Contact: Chris Flynn firstname.lastname@example.org
0773 053 0636
5 Crewkerne Road
Bristol BS48 2SN
Contact: Andrew Redman email@example.com
3a Fountain Buildings
Contact: Phil Staunton firstname.lastname@example.org
Coalesce Product Development
St John’s Innovation Centre
Yorkshire & Humberside
Contact: Mike Willshaw email@example.com
Top Land Country Business Park
Contact: Adam Robinson firstname.lastname@example.org
0800 988 8792
13 Queen Square
Veritas Design & Innovation
Contact: Ben Biswell email@example.com
0207 7396158 or 07881 752307
81 Curtain Road
Contact: Alan Lawrence firstname.lastname@example.org
27 Abbey Gardens
Contact: Ally Le Sueur email@example.com
Unit 63 The Innovation Centre
Campbell Engineering & Design
Contact: Bob Campbell firstname.lastname@example.org
028 9055 1611
Valley Business Centre
67 Church Road
Companies House Information about all UK limited companies, disqualified directors etc. Can be useful for checking status of potential partners, licencees, suppliers etc.
Association for University Research and Industry Links (AURIL) Network of professionals aiming to develop partnerships between higher education and industry to support innovation and competitiveness. A good starting point if you’re looking for help from a university.
Practical Farm Ideas Reports on innovative and cost-cutting ideas from farmers.
‘The Myth of the Mousetrap: how to get your ideas adopted (and change the world)’ A book recommended not just because it too has ‘mousetrap’ in the title. Written by Anne Miller, one of the world’s most prolific female inventors, The Myth of the Mousetrap explains why it’s so difficult to get a new idea adopted, and what you can do about it. Intelligent, wise, insightful, well written, practical… damn good.
The Halfbakery Oddball US site included because we like it. To quote its home page: ‘The Halfbakery is a communal database of original, fictitious inventions. It was created by people who like to speculate, both as a form of satire and as a form of creative expression.’ Worth a visit before assuming that some ultra-creative idea can’t possibly have been thought of before. (Remember: even if it’s a joke it’s still prior art.)
Invention marketing companies
Something of an anti-recommendation. There are many companies offering to help you exploit or protect your invention. All we can say with legal safety is that we know of plenty of inventors who reckon they’ve had poor value for money from such companies. Some may contact you via the address on your published patent application, appearing to be interested in licensing your idea. Many are based outside the UK.
The golden rule is to proceed with considerable caution. To find out more, search Google for plus terms such as invention fraud and invention scam to find out what the pitfalls can be for the unwary. In the USA there’s even a National Inventor Fraud Centre, though this is a private initiative run by a patent attorney.