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A patent is an exclusive right granted by a state for an invention in exchange for detailed public disclosure of the invention. A patent does not give a right to make or use or sell an invention, but provides the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing the patented invention for the term of the patent, which is usually 20 years from the filing date subject to the payment of renewal fees.


A patent must include one or more claims that define the invention. These claims must meet relevant patentability requirements, such as novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability. Further, the claims must be clear and concise, and the invention as a whole needs to be sufficiently disclosed.


Compared to other IP rights, patents are quite costly. On the one hand this is caused by the need of specialists in both technical and judicial areas at the Patent Offices (examiners) and on the applicant’s side (patent attorneys). On the other hand, patents can have a very broad scope of protection compared to other IP rights, which make them also very valuable.


A relevant question would be: once I have obtained a patent, what can I do with it?

The possibilities include:


Worldwide patent protection can start with a single patent application as long as subsequent applications are filed within 12 months and priority is claimed of the first application. The effect of claiming priority is that the subsequent applications are considered to be filed on the same date as the first application, so that for novelty and inventive step requirements only prior art before the filing date of the first application is relevant, even for the subsequent applications.

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