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A patent registers an invention, product or innovation and legal action can be taken against anyone who makes, uses, sells or imports it without permission. What can and can’t be patented needs clarity. 

What can be patented:

  • New
  • Inventive – not just an obvious tweak to something that already exists
  • Something that can be made or used



What can’t be patented:

  • Literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works
  • Schemes, rules or methods – including medical treatment methods
  • Anything that’s purely an idea – e.g. a way of thinking, a scientific or mathematical discovery
  • New types of plants, seeds or animals
  • The way information is presented
  • Some computer programs