• Invention Patents

    A patent is a legal title that gives the owner an exclusive right of economical exploitation and use of an invention in a given territory and for a given period of time.

    Specifically, a patent gives its owner the right to exclude others from making, using, marketing, selling, or importing a patented object.

    A patent is a technical and legal text that comprises a technical description and drawings illustrating the invention and a set of “claims” defining the scope of protection.

    Within the boundaries of the country in which a patent is valid, the patent owner has the right to:

    • decide who can and who cannot use the patented invention during its protection period;
    • allow third parties to use the invention, under mutually agreed upon conditions, through a license;
    • sell its right to a third party, which in turn becomes the patent owner.

    The time limit for extending a patent application in other countries is one year from its filing date.

    The duration of a patent is twenty years from the application filing date, provided the annual maintenance fees are paid.

    Upon expiration of a patent, the inventor loses its own exclusive rights, the invention becomes public domain and can be commercially exploited by anybody.

    In general, an invention shall meet the following requirements in order for it to be patentable:

    • novelty: the invention must have some characteristics that are not known yet in the relevant technical field;
    • inventive step: the invention shall not be obvious in the light of the state of the art to a person skilled in that specific sector;
    • industrial applicability: it shall be possible for the invention to find industrial applications.

    Software patents

    In Europe, a software can be patented if it interacts with the physical reality to solve a technical problem; a software that processes data without producing a technical effect outside the computer wherein it works is not patentable.

    Patents abroad

    In order to extend a patent abroad, any of the following paths can be followed:

    • filing individual national applications in every country where one wishes to protect its own invention;
    • in Europe, a European Patent application can be filed;
    • filing an international patent application (PCT: Patent Cooperation Treaty), which allows applicants to start a unified procedure which does not result in a supranational patent, but is equivalent to filing a national application in all member countries of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (which are more than 150 at present), provided the national phases are entered within the due times in the countries of interest.

    Utility models

    In Italy, new models that improve the effectiveness or ease of application or use of machines or parts thereof, instruments, tools, or objects of use in general, such as new models consistent of particular shapes, arrangements, configurations, or combinations of parts, are protectable as utility models.

    It is also said that there is an invention whenever a novel product is implemented, whereas there is a utility model whenever an already existing product is improved.

    In order to be eligible for utility model protection, it is necessary that the device to be protected meets the requirements of novelty and inventive step, as for the invention patent, as well as the requirement of industrial application.

    The time limit for extending a utility model application to other countries is one year from its filing date.

    The maximum duration of a utility model is ten years from the date of filing of the application, and maintenance fees are due for the second fiver-year period.

    Faq Invention Patents:

    An idea can only be patented if it is a solution to a technical problem; this is the reason why it is necessary to describe the principle of operation of the invention.

    The protection obtainable varies from country to country. In Italy, a software is patentable if it produces a technical effect that goes beyond the normal interaction between the software and the hardware on which it is runs.

    An invention shall not be made accessible to the public in the form of publications, marketing, advertising, etc. before the filing date of the patent application.

    Any disclosures of the invention prior to the filing of the application shall be grounds for invalidation of the patent.

    The time limit to extend an invention patent application abroad is 12 months from the patent application filing date.

    Yes, it is, within eighteen months from the filing date of the application, but only if the latter was filed without requesting advanced accessibility to the public and if the subject matter of the patent had never been disclosed. The initial filing priority right will not be enjoyed and the protection will be effective from the date when it is actually filed abroad.

    An invention patent has a maximum duration of 20 years from the filing date of the application, provided the annual maintenance fees are regularly paid (in Italy, starting from the fifth year after filing).

    A patent search helps in determining whether your idea is new, hence potentially patentable, or if it would infringe an existing patent.

    A search might also be an easy monitoring tool for evaluating competitors in a given sector and be of great help in the research, development, and creation phases, helping to prevent waste of time and useless duplication.

    A patent application shall be drawn up following given legal rules, hence it is advisable to contact a qualified patent attorney.

    If there are collaborations before the patent application is filed (for example, in the case of designers not being part of the company), it is very important to regulate this collaboration through confidentiality agreements.

    Faq Utility models:

    These two patent rights offer exactly the same protections and the same rights. A utility model expires after ten years, whereas an invention patent expires after twenty years.

    A utility model is often considered as “a small invention”, whose patent is granted without a prior examination of the requirements for patentability.

    In Italy, it is possible to convert an invention patent application into a utility model and vice versa.

    The time limit to extend a utility model application abroad, while retaining the same priority date, is twelve months from the date the initial application is filed.

    Yes, it is, within eighteen months from the application filing date, but only if the latter was filed without requesting advanced accessibility to the public and the subject matter of the model has never been disclosed.

    The initial filing priority right will not be enjoyed and the protection will be effective as from the filing date abroad.

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