What's your big idea?

You’ve had your “Eureka!” moment, your stroke of genius, your vision. But how can you protect it and take it forward? Different types of creativity have different routes to market, and are protected by different intellectual property rights. Not all innovations are patentable. Find the one card below that most closely fits to your own big idea, to see if it might be patentable.

Is your idea...

a musical, dramatic, literary or artistic work?
It could be an original screenplay or script, photos or graphical work, a sculpture or handicraft item, music or a video, or even the choreography for a dance. It should be “fixed” or recorded in some way, for example digitally.
More information
a service innovation?
You’ve found a niche in a new or expanding market. Perhaps it is a retail or delivery service or a financial product. Maybe it’s a conventional business practice, but reimagined using new technology, such as bidding in an online auction or trading second-hand goods via a smartphone app.
More information
a logo, slogan, business name, product name or web domain?
This is anything that signifies the goods and/or services of one company, helping to distinguish them from those of another.
More information
a business process?
This could be a new way you process customer queries, manage your supply chain or handle financial transactions. Business processes can include novel financial products, discount cards, reward programmes to retain customer loyalty, or “bulk-buy” deals to encourage customers to spend more.
More information
a material or substance?
For example a chemical compound, a textile, an alloy, a plastic, a ceramic, a dye, an additive or a solvent.
More information
a new chemical, catalyst, pharmaceutical, pesticide or herbicide?
It could be an entirely new chemical compound, or you might be the first person to isolate a particular biological material. Or perhaps you have developed a new microbiological material – for example genetically modified bacteria to produce useful substances.
More information
a medical procedure?
It could be a new surgical method, or a new way to diagnose or treat a disease.
More information
a design or ornament on a decorative article, or jewellery or a clothing or fashion accessory?
Your idea is distinguished by its appearance rather than by its functionality.
More information
a diagnostic tool or probe?
Maybe your invention detects faults in machines or impurities in water. Or perhaps it monitors a patient’s vital signs or helps to detect disease. It could be used in a laboratory or where the machine or patient is located.
More information
a new or improved manufacturing or industrial process?
This could be a new process to manufacture a new material or product, or even to make a conventional product – for example a new process to brew conventional beer.
More information
new software or a mobile app?
This might be a new program, digital process or smartphone app – any innovation that runs on a computer to solve a technical problem, whether the effects are internal or external to a computer.
More information
a device, apparatus, instrument or gadget?
This is anything with functional and technical features. It could be mechanical and/or electronic; it could even be digital, such as a video editing program or a data compression tool.
More information
a new or improved component for an existing device, apparatus, instrument, gadget or tool?
Perhaps you have invented a new accessory for an existing power tool or kitchen appliance, or an improved component. You may have a new digital sensor to replace a less reliable mechanical one. Your invention may be a known component made from a new material that is more durable.
More information
an alternative part for an existing machine, tool or instrument?
There is substantial demand for “aftermarket” parts, such as different wheels for a sports car or alternative headlamps for a motorcycle. Consumers typically buy such parts for aesthetic reasons, even if they usually have the same functionality as the original.
More information
a new TV or radio show format?
It could be a new type of quiz, a new approach to documentary making or a combination of existing show formats – such as a talent show combined with a cookery programme. Perhaps you would take an existing format featuring the general public, but use celebrities instead.
More information
a new food, drink or recipe?
Your innovation might be a combination of sandwich fillings or toppings for pizza. Alternatively, it might be a new flavour of alcoholic drink. Or perhaps the innovation lies in the production process – baking, brewing, roasting or chilling, for instance.
More information
a novel and unique combination of existing technologies?
For example, you have combined a dog lead with a torch so that when walking your dog at night you still have one hand free for a phone or umbrella.
More information
a discovery, scientific theory or mathematical formula?
You might have detected a distant galaxy, discovered a new species of insect or found a microbe previously unknown to humankind. You might have a new theory to explain a phenomenon or a new mathematical equation from the field of physics or engineering.
More information