WHAT is a patent
It is an agreement between the owner of a substantial innovation and the State granting the patent. The owner of the innovation makes it available to the community and the State rewards the owner by granting a monopoly on its territory for a fixed period of time.
The monopoly provides the right to prohibit others, without the consent of the owner, to exploit economically the invention, preventing not only the production but also the sale (even if for export only).
The legislation in Italy and the EU distinguishes two types of protection:
- the Patent for Invention which can be used to protect machines, articles of manufacture materials and processes that constitute a new and original solution with respect to what was already known.
duration/term: 20 years.
- the Utility Model with which devices (mechanical, electrical or even electronic) can be protected using already known technical principles but with new particular effectiveness or convenience of application or use. It is not usable for new materials or processes.
duration/term 10 years.
WHY you must file your patent
- creates serious obstacles to the competition
- confers the exclusive right to use the invention
- is essential for start-ups that do not yet have commercial strength
- a patent portfolio shows focus on innovation and increases the reputation of well-established companies,
- makes tangible the value of innovation, which becomes a good that can be entered in the balance sheet, can be licensed or transferred,
- protects the resources spent on research and development by preventing others from exploiting without your consent,
- offers benefits of reduced taxation on incomes that procures (facilitated tax regime "patent box")
- increases the possibility of obtaining financial contributions: the ownership of patents (or the license to use patents of others) certifies the know-how and may prove essential to obtain additional financial resources for technical and commercial development
WHEN to consult a Patent Consultant
in a company that maintains a process of continuous innovation.
at the moment of an invention when very often (one in three cases) is too late.
Resorting to a patent consultant only when innovation is finally ready to be patented, is a serious mistake. Statistically, a prior art search finds an obstacle one out of 3 times, even when there is still no trace of it on the market, better then to detect obstacles at an early stage when it is still possible to find alternative and improved solutions.
In fact, three are essential purposes:
- avoiding to infringe patents of others
- preventing competitors from obtaining a patent on a non-novel or non-inventive concept
- protecting inventions timely before a competitor can file a later patent
Therefore, a Patent Consultant is needed for ...
.... avoiding to infringe patents of others
- when there is the plan to introduce new technologies: even if these could seem trivial, some may be covered by an unsuspected patent
- when there is the plan to undertake a research project: to avoid beating roads already travelled and get the latest state of the art
.... preventing the competitors from obtaining a patent on a non-novel or non-inventive concept by
- intervening in the examination procedures, with objective showings and appropriate citations
- filing patent applications not only on breakthrough innovations but whenever there is a risk that others will obtain a patent on a new relevant improvement
.... ensuring a priority date as soon as the invention is ready for patenting
- this is the final step of a research and development approach that takes the IP strategy on due account