There is a lot to consider before applying for a patent. Here are some key questions and answers.
Who can apply for a patent?
It is the inventor who has the right to apply for a patent for his/her invention. However, this right may be transferred to another natural person or company. The right to be named as an inventor is nevertheless non-transferable.
For an employee who makes an invention that falls within the scope of the employer's activities, there are certain restrictions on the right to apply for a patent. The limitations depend on how close the connection is between the employee's duties and the invention. The employer's right to the invention can also be regulated in an agreement between the employee and the employer. If you are an employee of a company and invent something, you should therefore learn what applies to your invention before you file a patent application yourself.
Can you choose how to file a patent application?
There are several ways to file a patent application. The most common, and the fastest, is digitally. When the content of the application may be a defence invention, your application must be in paper form and submitted to PRV.
Is a patent what you need?
Applying for a patent costs time, effort and money. It is therefore a good idea to consider whether a patent is the right form of protection for you and whether your invention appears to be patentable before you file a patent application. If you think your invention has commercial value, or if you see some other reason to protect your invention, it may be worth applying for a patent. Keep in mind that your invention does not automatically have commercial value, even if it qualifies for patenting.
If you want to further protect your invention, or if a patent does not seem to be the right form of protection for you, you may want to consider other forms of intellectual property protection such as trademarks and design protection.
Certain applicants choose to protect part of their invention with a patent and keep the rest as trade secrets. How you choose to do this is entirely up to you.
Are you applying for multiple patents?
If your invention consists of several smaller inventions, it may be necessary to apply for several patents, i.e., one patent for each individual invention.
Will you apply for patents in other countries?
When you apply for a patent, you must decide whether you want to apply for a patent in other countries within a specific time limit. For that reason, it is important to have considered the nature of your market and the country or countries in which you want to protect your invention.
Do you have an intellectual property (IP) strategy?
An IP strategy is a strategy for how best to manage intellectual property assets to achieve goals and profitability. Such a strategy is often based on an external analysis and a business plan for the management of its intellectual property and rights.
Patents are a business tool and there are many different ways to strategically approach a market. If you have not already developed an IP strategy, you can contact a business adviser for advice.
The figure shows the relative distribution of the number of patent documents in different technological fields of space technology.
You can also get help in making analyses and assessments of your market and your chances of receiving a patent, thus providing an overview of the patent landscape in which your invention is located as well as a basis for deciding whether or not to file a patent application. PRV's consultancy services, among others, offer such services.
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