A patent is broadly defined as an invention or idea by which the owner or inventor has received a set of exclusive rights granted by an intellectual property office (IPO). A form of intellectual property, patent rights are awarded for a set period of time in return for disclosure of the invention to the public. When seeking to register your idea or invention for protection against unauthorized use, you are advised to enlist the services of a professional consultancy firm.
A patent can be an invention or idea at any stage of progression. It will usually take the form of a substance, process, device or method that has been created from scratch in a highly creative and original manner for economic use in its related field.
Patents are common among companies introducing new products to the market and inventors creating new products or technologies. The more advanced and economically profitable the invention or idea, the more likely it is that patent protections should be sought, to prevent third parties from using, abusing or selling it without permission.
Patent law is a complex area of intellectual property law and there are many requirements that have to be satisfied in order to qualify for patent protection.
- The invention or idea must be unique (never used before)
- It must be a highly inventive step that is not obvious to those with experience in the related field
- The idea or invention must have the scope to eventually be created or manufactured in its related industry
- Under no circumstances can a patent be a scientific discovery or method
- The idea or invention cannot take the form of a literary or musical work
- It cannot be a living thing such as an animal or plant
- It must not offend the public and must not be immoral
The procedure for issuing patents will vary from one jurisdiction to another, as will the requirements the patentee must satisfy and the extent of the protection that can be achieved. Each country will adopt its own intellectual property laws and frameworks and it is essential to be aware of the processes in place prior to applying for your rights.
Usually, a country’s intellectual property office will expect a patent application to include one or more claims defining the invention. The patent will be required to meet patentability standards including novelty and will be assess on an individual case basis. The rights granted will enable the owner to prevent third parties and competitors from making, selling or using the invention without the expressed permission of the owner.
Once your application is approved, you will be required to renew your patent rights every 5 years (10 years for trademarks).