Acton, London | Started trading in February 2017 

WASE develops decentralised wastewater treatment systems that embrace a circular economy to recover energy, nutrients, and water in wastewater.

Lightbulb moment

  • Tom worked in schools in Ghana where he saw how the lack of sanitation had a negative impact on the local children, who missed school because of illnesses related to poorly treated wastewater.
  • When returning to the UK, Tom decided to find a way to develop better, more efficient ways of using wastewater.

Why a patent?

  • It is a good way to show that you have unique processes.
  • A lot of investors that WASE has approached have been keen to see the product and process patented.

Advice for people or businesses looking to file a patent?

  • Try to understand what value it will add to your business before investing in a patent.
  • Because of the cost implications, you should have a good idea of what country or countries you’d like to launch this in beforehand.
  • Make a decision on whether you’ll actually need the patent - if there is a process or technology that you can take to market without revealing the idea, it might be worth exploring.


  • Tom started the business in 2017 and expects to file the patent in September this year – it should be granted by 2021.
  • Once the UK patent is filed WASE will seek to patent the idea in other countries around the world.

Issues securing a patent?

  • They are still in the early stages of filing a patent, so haven’t faced any problems so far. One thing they have grappled with, is whether to use money to invest in further developing the technology, or to spend it on the patent itself.

Related resources

22nd Jun 2022

The Santander Breakthrough Women Business Leaders' Mentoring Programme

Supporting women and entrepreneurship Santander is a signatory member to the UK government Investing in Women Code , which was launched in 2019 and founded from the Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship.

12th Jul 2021

Realising the value of patenting your product

Do you have an idea or invention and not quite sure where to start?