What does my invention need to have to obtain patent protection?
There are numerous conditions that must be met in order to obtain a patent and it’s not possible to compile an exhaustive, universally applicable list. However, some of the key conditions include the following:
- The invention must show an element of novelty; that is, some new characteristic that is not known in the body of existing knowledge in its technical field. This body of existing knowledge is called “prior art”.
- The invention must involve an “inventive step” or “non-obvious”, which means that it could not be obviously deduced by a person having ordinary skill in the relevant technical field.
- The invention must be capable of industrial application, meaning that it must be capable of being used for an industrial or business purpose beyond a mere theoretical phenomenon or be useful.
- Its subject matter must be accepted as “patentable” under law. In many countries, scientific theories, aesthetic creations, mathematical methods, plant or animal varieties, discoveries of natural substances, commercial methods, methods for medical treatment (as opposed to medical products), or computer programs are generally not patentable.
- The invention must be disclosed in an application in a manner sufficiently clear and complete to enable it to be replicated by a person with an ordinary level of skill in the relevant technical field.
How long does a patent last?
A patent is valid for 20 years from the date of filing the application, subject to payment of annual maintenance fees.
What are the benefits of having a patent?
Patents offer protection for inventions by preventing others from making, using or selling the invention without permission. This gives the owner of the patent the right to exclude others from exploiting the invention and also allows them to license or sell the invention.
What are the risks of not having a patent?
If you do not have a patent, your invention is open to being copied or imitated by others. This could result in you losing market share, revenue and any competitive advantage that your invention may have provided.
How much does it cost to get a patent?
The cost of obtaining a patent varies depending on the country in which you file, the type of patent application you filed, and the number of claims (if any) included in your application. Generally speaking, patents are more expensive to obtain in developed countries than in developing countries.