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Inventions come at the beginning of the Innovation process, when a new idea is developed and eventually turned into a new product or business. It is important to know how to protect ideas and understand the whole process of patenting. This course will take you through the process, but it will stop short at the utilisation and exploitation of the patent (this is a separate course). It will include discussion of:

  • Discoveries versus Inventions.
  • Who the inventors are
  • Publications versus Patents
  • The patenting process and timelines
  • Searching the patent literature and understanding their structure.
  • Other forms of Intellectual Property


By the end of this session participants will be able to:

  • Distinguish between discoveries and inventions.
  • Know the protocols for confidentiality and dealing with patentable ideas
  • Know how to approach the Technology Transfer Office (Oxford University Innovation Ltd)
  • Know how to conduct Patent searches on the web
  • Understand how and why Patents are structured in the way they are.
  • Understand the steps that a Patent has to go through to offer the inventor protection.
  • Understand some other aspects of Intellectual property such as copyright and trade secrecy.


PGR and Research Staff 

number of places


course leader

Prof Peter Dobson


Information about the next scheduled course, and how to apply for a place, are in our course programme.

rdf skills

C1, C2

The Researcher Development Framework (RDF) provides a framework for planning and supporting the personal, professional and career development of graduate students and research staff.