Intellectual property – guidance

Patents: Manual of Patent Practice

The Manual of Patent Practice explains the Intellectual Property Office's practice under the Patents Act 1977.



Online version

An online version of the Manual of Patent Practice is now available.

Details of recent changes

Details of recent changes to the manual are available.

PDF version

The Manual recites sections of the Patents Act 1977 and sections of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 relating to patents. Each provision includes commentary with related legislation in the margin. Further parts of the Manual show official notices and directions from the Patents and Designs Journal. There is also a section on Supplementary Protection Certificates for Medicinal Products and Plant Protection Products.

We update the Manual regularly to reflect recent developments such as changes in the law and judicial decisions. The most recent update occurred on 1 July 2016 when substantive changes were made to Sections 1, 3, 4A, 17, 18, 73 and 117B.

Any new text in the new version is highlighted in red. A sidebar marks any paragraphs which have changed since the April 2016 version; all previous sidebars have been removed. The footer of each page includes an indication of the date of the latest update to that section of the Manual.

Please note that statements made in the Manual are not in themselves an authority for any action by the Intellectual Property Office and should not be used as a set of legal requirements. If you wish to point out an error in the Manual, you can contact the editor by emailing