A patent is an industrial property right that protects a technical invention. It is essentially a national right and is subject to the legal provisions of the country in which it is granted.
Patent protection is based on a patent application, which clearly and unambiguously formulates the invention, in some cases with the aid of drawings. During the course of the application and examination procedure the particular patent office examines whether an invention is novel, innovative and commercially applicable. The patent is granted once the granting procedure has been completed successfully.
A patent is an exclusive privilege, not a positive right of use. The patent holder can exclude the public from using his patented invention.
The basic criteria for obtaining a patent are essentially:
- inventive step
- commercial applicability
Patent protection does not cover:
- scientific theories
- mathematical methods
- aesthetic creations
- inventions that violate public order or common decency
- plant species
- animal species
- human surgical, therapeutic or diagnostic procedures
An invention is said to be novel when it does not constitute the current state of the art. This includes everything that has been in the public domain in the form of a written or oral description, as a result of usage or in any other manner prior to the priority date of the application.
An inventive step means that the invention for which an application is being lodged must not be obvious to a person skilled in the field of the invention with respect to the current state of the art.
The patent entitles the patent holder to prevent others from commercially manufacturing, distributing, offering for sale or using the object of the invention or to introduce or own it for the aforementioned purposes.