Patents are a way of registering your inventions, granting you exclusivity over their use. However, more than providing protection for your invention’s technical characteristics, patents make a difference when it comes to the success of a business.
Patents prevent third parties from manufacturing, offering, stocking, or selling your invention without your consent, whether this be a product or a process of getting new products.
You can profit through the assignment or licensing of your patent. If you wish to do so, our team can help you define and negotiate the best solution for you.
In the face of such a competitive market, protecting an invention through a patent is an important step to avoid the high counterfeit risk that can cause any business to fail.
The criteria, and its interpretation, differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. However, patents usually protect the inventions that:
Were not disclosed or made publicly available and that do not comprise the state of the art, in or out of the country, before the date of first filing.
If already disclosed or made publicly available and does not result from pre-existing inventions in a way which is obvious to an expert in the field.
Everything that can be made or used in any industry, including agriculture.
Ideas, projects, and business models cannot be protected by patents as such. Discoveries, mathematical methods, and scientific theories are also a part of the limitations as to what can be patented.
Works of art cannot be protected by patents either, only by Copyright.
If you own an invention with all the characteristics listed above, it is possible for you to patent it. However, there are other aspects that should be taken into consideration:
Do you intend to market your invention?
Do you foresee making significant profits from that commercialization?
You don't mind making it available to the public?
If the answers are affirmative, then you own an invention that should be patented. However, for a clear answer to all your questions, contact us to talk with an expert and explore other forms of protection, which may be more appropriate in your case: utility models and industrial designs.
Patents have a long, demanding, and expensive registration process, but they are internationally recognized and last longer, extending up to 20 years with annual renewal.
Our experts monitor all the steps for the registration and management of these forms of protection for your inventions:
What is a patent?
A patent is a right granting you the exclusive use of an invention, whether it be a product or a process, for a period of 20 years, preventing third parties from selling, distributing, or using it commercially.
However, to be considered a patent, the invention must be novel, i.e., must not already exist on the market when it does not form part of the state of the art; it must involve an inventive step not being obvious to a skilled person in the art; and it must have and industrial application.
A patent is an intangible asset, being a source of profit that can be sold or licensed.
Is it really worth patenting your invention?
Before deciding, it is important to answer a couple of questions: Does the patent meet the granting requirements? Do you believe you will profit with the granted exclusivity or from the assignment/license of the rights?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, then you own an asset that should be registered as a patent. However, for a clear answer to your questions, we recommend that you consult our patent attorneys. They will be able to, for example, give you a legal opinion on a prior patent search, in order to know whether the patent can be protected and eventually go forward with a provisional patent application (PPA). This is a more affordable way to protect your invention, giving you one year to think about its potential (and test it), before you decide whether you want to carry out the final and complete filing.
Do the advantages of patents outweigh the costs?
For this, you will need to answer a few questions. Is there a risk of appropriation by third parties? Will the invention sell enough? Do you think the invention will continue to have value even after granting? Will the asset yield benefits if sold or licensed?
Do you have the means to defend your patent?
It is often said that “the validity of a patent depends on the capacity we have to defend it”. Therefore, even if an invention is worth millions, it is necessary to take into consideration whether you have sufficient funds available to patent and protect it.
You have an excellent idea! Should you patent it?
For an idea to be patented, it must fulfil the granting requirements for patents. An idea that does not present itself as a technical solution to a problem cannot be patented.
Discoveries, scientific theories, or mathematical methods are other examples of non-patentable subject matter, as are works of art.
What is the difference between patents, utility models, industrial designs, and copyright?
Patents only protect those inventions which are not obvious to an expert in the field. Utility models, on the other hand, also encompass those inventions which provide a technical or practical advantage.
Patents have a long, demanding, and expensive registration but they are internationally recognized and last longer. The protection period varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but can last up to 20 years with an annual renewal. Utility models have a faster, cheaper, and less demanding granting process. However, they have a shorter protection period (this also changes according to the jurisdiction, but can last up to 10 years) and are not recognized in some countries.
Patents protect inventions’ technical characteristics, while industrial designs focus on aesthetic aspects, such as the lines, contours, colors, texture, or materials of products ranging from clothing to mobile phone parts.
Patents protect innovations with an industrial application, while copyrights cover scientific, literary, or artistic works (such as paintings, movies, songs, scientific articles, etc.)
Can you make your inventions public?
If you do so before a provisional or definitive patent filing, it is likely that you will not be able to patent them because they will not be deemed novel. Public disclosure may only occur after application.
Can you disclose your inventions to us?
Yes. We work with full confidentiality and we never disclose information that comes from our clients. If you wish, we can sign a nondisclosure agreement.
How can we help you?
We have an expert patent department, who can help you in the entire search process, application filling, and the management of your patent. Always with full transparency and with maximum confidentiality.
Furthermore, we can help enhance your patent’s legal protection by ensuring permanent searches of the market to catch any possible copies or harmful and illegal uses, and activating all response measures in these situations.
Why is it important to search for previous patents?
In order to be patented, an invention must be novel, i.e., cannot have been made public or be part of the state of the art. In addition, the invention must involve an inventive step, i.e., not originate from already existing inventions in an obvious way. The search for previous patents allows us to identify if these requirements have been met and, based on our legal opinion, assess whether it will be useful or advantageous to proceed with the patent registration process.
How is a patent registered?
The process is not necessarily simple or fast, but we'll do it for you. The process entails the definition of a registration strategy, a search for previous patents, and the drafting of the patent itself and what it claims. Following on from this, our patent attorneys file an application with the relevant PTOs, according to the proceedings and formalities required for the granting decision.
What are the differences between pending patents and provisional patents?
Pending patents are those that have already been applied for and are being examined by the relevant authorities, i.e., those patents whose protection has been requested but not yet granted.
Provisional patents are those that preventively protect an invention – usually for one year – before a complete and definitive application is filed. Not as many formalities are required as for a normal patent filing, but the priority date is assured.
In which countries should you register your patent?
This all depends on the purpose of your invention. If you just want to market it in your country, you need only to register it there. However, if your intention is internationalization, ideally you should proceed with the registration in the markets you want to enter as well (having one year to do so from the date of the first filing).
As there is no single filing that encompasses all countries simultaneously, you need to carry out the registration in each country in which you intend to internationalize an asset. In most cases, the scope of applications is national, but there do exist regional and international agreements that allow a patent to be filed in various jurisdictions.
Learn more about patent registration in multiple jurisdictions here.
How long can the analysis period last?
This differs according to the jurisdiction. For example, in the USA it can take up to three years and in Europe the process takes between three and five years.
What is patent maintenance or annuity?
Besides the application fee, the majority of jurisdictions require the payment of an annual fee to maintain the patent valid and in force. At Inventa International, we have specific software that will alert you every time patent maintenance is necessary.
How can you enforce your patent rights?
We are responsible for monitoring your patent, protecting it against harmful or illegal behaviors, and defending your rights anywhere in the world against third parties that could put the commercial success of your patent at risk.
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