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What is a patent?

A patent is a right that grants you the exclusive use of an invention, whether it’s 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 as a patent, the invention must be novel, i.e., it shouldn’t already exist on the market when it doesn’t form part of the state of the art; it must involve an inventive step not being obvious to a person skilled in the art; and it must have an industrial application.

A patent is an intangible asset, being a source of profit that can be sold or licensed.

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 its granting? Will the asset yield benefits if sold or licensed?

Do I have the right means to defend my 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 available funds available to patent and protect it.

I have an excellent idea! Should I 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 inventions which are not obvious to an expert in the field. Utility models, on the other hand, encompass 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 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 I make my inventions public?

If you do so before a provisional or definitive patent filing, it is likely that you won’t be able to patent your inventions since they will no longer be considered as a novelty.. Public disclosure may only occur after application.

Can I disclose to you my inventions?

Yes. We work with full confidentiality and we never disclose information that comes from our clients. However, we are at your entire disposal to sign a nondisclosure agreement.

How can Inventa help me?

We have an expert patent department, who can help you in the entire search process, application filling, and 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 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 beneficial 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 patents that have already been applied for and are being examined by the relevant authorities, i.e., whose protection has been requested but not yet granted.

Provisional patents are patents that preventively protect an invention – usually for one year – before a complete and definitive application is filed. Although the priority date is assured, not as many formalities are required as for a normal patent filing.

In which countries should I register my patent?

If you only want to market it in your country, you’ll only need to register at a national level. However, if you intend to internationalize your invention, you should, ideally, proceed with the registration in all the markets that are interesting to you.

Since there is no single filing that encompasses all countries simultaneously, you’ll need to carry out the registration in each country you intend to internationalize your asset. Although there are regional and international agreements that allow a patent to be filed in various jurisdictions, In most cases, the scope of applications is national only.

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, we have specific software that will alert you every time patent maintenance is necessary.

How can I enforce my 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.

Is it really worth patenting my 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 assigninglicensing the reight?

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, 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.

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