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What is a patent?
A patent is an exclusive right confered by the State for a limited period on a new invention, involving an inventive step and (industrial applicability / susceptible of industrial application / industrial application ability).
The patent is an industrial property title, aimed at relating that the functional and technical aspects of an invention. This title is awarded only temporarily, for a maximum period of 20 years.
In addition to its time limit, the patent is limited in space: it is only valid in the country where it has been registered.
Why filing for a patent?
Most of the products that we consume, on a daily basis, comes from the creation of companies or individuals, who can protect, through the use of their patent, their know-how and above all monetize their research and development to particularly enable them to work on other projects and continue to invent.
Innovation is at the heart of the economic develpoment of our daily life through the use of patents.
Consequently, patents are a real business challenge; for, the success and especially the sustainability of your projects or your business depend mostly on your ability to generate revenue and imagine new products.
It is for these reasons that your invention deserves to be protected, regardless of its nature or destination.
By patenting your invention, you make your research and development profitable. Moreover, you ensure a strategic and commercial advantage against competition and trade globalization.
A patent always adds value to your project and legally protect it against competition.
The applicant is normally the owner of the patent, potientially jointly with others, for example, when a part of the invention was soldor or when several inventors have a common interest in the patent. A patent can of course be transferred to another person or be subject to licenses (referred to assignment or license).
Principle of priority right
The priority right allows patent applicants of a member of the International Union Countries for the protection of industrial property(also known as "Paris Union") to file extension requests in other member countries within no more than one year, starting from the date of the filing of a national application(Articles 5 and 6 of Law 17/97).
In principle, the right to patent an invention corresponds to its inventor, since this invention meets the requirements of patentability.
It may be different, if the invention was developed by an employee within an enterprise. In fact, the law provides a specific provision fo remployees inventions (Art.18 of Law 17/97); according to the conditions in which they were designed, the rights to the invention, and thus the choice whether or not to file a patent, return to the employee or the employer. In the latter case, the employee will be entitled to financial compensation.
That is why; the employee has an obligation to report any invention that he achieves to inform and allow his employer determining the rights he estimates to possess on the invention.
The purpose of the declaration is to define, eventually, who of the employee or the employer may file a patent.
What can not be patented?
The patent is an industrial property title related to thetechnical and functional aspect of a product, process, substance or method you invented and by which it is possible to solve a given technical problem.
An idea is not patentable; the technical means toits realization are. In this sense, the law provides a list of exclusions from patentability (Art. 23, 24 and 25 of Law 17/97):
- Discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods;
- Aesthetic creations;
- The presentations of information;
- Schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, playing games or in the economic field;
- Computer programs considered as such;
- Inventions opposite to public orderor decency;
- The methods of surgical or therapeutic treatment on human or animal body;
- The diagnostic methods practiced on the human or animal body;
- Plant varieties or animal breeds;
- Processes Essentially biological for the production of plantsor selection of animal races;
Is your invention patentable?
To be patentable, an invention must meet three criteria:
An inventionis considered new if It is not included in the "state of the art", the latter being formed by what has been made public, either in the patent publication, or in other types publication, either by oral or by use. In practice, itis recommended to make some bibliographic researches before applying fora patent. This will ensure that no one has described the invention before the date of its deposit.
If the idea of an invention has been disclosed by its author, the law guarantees him a grace period. Thus, it should not exceed a period of 12 months from the date of disclosure of the invention prior to filing the application for patent.
Warning! This periodis not fixed, it varies according to the national law of each country.
An invention shall be considered as involving an inventive step if, for «skilled man," it does not obviously result from the state of the art. It is not enough to improve an existing technique, it must be truly creative.
Example: Is a pencil eraser patentable?
Imagine the pencil eraser is not yet created. Check if it would meet the conditions of patentability.
- Does the technical solution respond to a technical problem? Yes.
- Is it new? We can presume it, if the inventor has not disclosed it before filing a patent application.
- But is there an inventive step? No, because the pencil and eraser were already known at the date of filing. It was obvious, then, to the skilled person (that is to say, the pencil manufacturer) to juxtapose a pencil and an eraser to write and erase with the same tool.
- Is it susceptible to industrial application? Yes, you can make gum pencils.
Conditions of pencil eraser patentability are, therefore, not met.
An invention is considered susceptible of industrial application if it has a specific, substantial and credible purpose.
The verification of patentability criteria is made ??by the examiner of patents, specialist in the field of invention. Reports of research and opinion on patentability are issued to the applicant in order to assess the patentability of his invention.