A patent is a form of protection for novel technical solutions to problems. A patent gives exclusive rights to utilise an invention commercially.
This means that no one else can use the invention by manufacturing, selling or importing it without the permission of the patent owner. A patent gives exclusive rights for up to 20 years. On the other hand, the patent owner must publish their invention and pay an annual fee. The Swedish Intellectual Property Office (PRV) is the competent authority for patents in Sweden, with the exception of unitary patents which are entirely handled by the European Patent Office (EPO).
Not all inventions can be granted a patent. An invention must meet three requirements:
- The invention must be novel. This means that it must not have been published previously anywhere in the world.
- The invention must have inventiveness. This means that it must differ significantly from anything that is already known; the solution cannot be obvious to someone who is an expert within the technical field of the invention.
- The invention must be industrially applicable. Among other things, this means that it must be possible to manufacture or produce the invention within “industry” in the broadest sense of the word. It also means that inventions which are claimed to work in a way which breaches the laws of nature, such as a perpetual motion machine, cannot be patented.
A Swedish patent applies in Sweden, but anyone can manufacture and sell the invention outside the country. To prevent this, it is possible to apply for patents in other countries. You can for example do this by submitting a separate application in each country, by using the PCT system or the European patent organisation’s EPC.
A patent is an intangible asset which can be licensed out or sold. Having a patent will improve your changes of finding investors and business partners.
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