Young Scientist

Are you entering the Young Scientist this year? Have you come up with a new product/brand/design? If so, read the following carefully…

Before you start

The vast majority of students taking part in the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition will not need to consider applying for a patent. However, if your project comprises functional or technical aspects that are new and not an obvious development on what already exists, you might consider applying for patent protection.

For an invention to be patentable it must be:

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Totally new (search using free databases like Espacenet or Google Patents (United States Patents only) and even try ordinary search sites like Google or Bing.


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Inventive – not obvious to a person who works in the technology field (can be an improvement with surprising benefits).


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Capable of industrial application (e.g. manufacture). NOT be part of the excluded category, e.g. equipment specifically designed for human or animal torture!

Prior to making a patent application

Prior to making a patent application, you must not make any public disclosure of your idea/invention, or put it into use publicly, for example at the Exhibition. The reason for this is that the patent application itself must be the first public disclosure of the invention. Any prior disclosure of the invention will count against the invention being considered new, and could result in the patent being invalid.

If an invention is in the public domain, it is considered ‘prior art’ and no longer patentable in most countries including the UK and Ireland.

PLEASE remember that there are real costs involved should you decide to apply for a patent, these initial costs are:

Initial patent filing fees (this depends on where you file your patent application) – The Irish Patents Office charges €125 to file a long term (20 year) patent. It would cost approximately €389 in total to bring it to grant and after grant there will be renewal fees to keep your protection. Alternatively, a short term (10 year) patent can be filed for €60 and the fees associated would also be significantly lower.

Be aware an Irish Patent will provide protection in the Republic of Ireland only. You will have one year from your initial filing date to file in other countries if necessary.

You may employ the services of an expert, namely a registered Patent Attorney to handle the filing of your patent. This will include searches and the composure of your patent specification. An Agent/Attorney will also handle all correspondence from the Patents Office on your behalf. The use of an Agent would considerably increase your fees. Fees would probably be in the thousands, rather than hundreds.

If you do not have a patentable invention, you can still protect your other Intellectual Property. For example, the name/brand of your product can be protected with a Trademark. Alternatively, you may be eligible for copyright or design protection depending on what category your product falls into.

Further information can be found under the Patent, Trademark, Design and copyright sections. (links to each section)

If you are attending the Young Scientist this year, please call or email us in advance to discuss your Intellectual Property protection options. Remember, it might be too late if you wait until you are the exhibition.

Do visit us at our stand where you can find out more about IP and test your knowledge by taking part in our quiz. You could be the lucky winner of one of our excellent daily prizes! We look forward to meeting you. And most of all, best of luck in the exhibition and enjoy the experience!

Check out winning Patent Office projects from previous years here:

Young Scientist 2017

The winners of the 2017 Patents Office sponsored prize were Lucy Leonard and Michelle Mann from Tullamore College. Lucy and Michelle won with their project 'Investigating the difference in bacterial contamination when handling and using a device to insert contact lenses'

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Young Scientist 2016

The winners of this years’ Patents Office sponsored prize Heather Murphy and Naoise Tobin from Sutton Park School who won with their project Sound Absorbing Paint.

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Young Scientist 2015

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Lauren Murphy from Loreto Secondary School, Balbriggan won the Irish Patents Office Special Award.   Her project was 'An aid for the rehabilitation of clenched fist in Multiple Sclerosis'.