Frequently asked questions about patents

We answer the most common questions we are asked about patents.

Feel free to begin by watching our short film about patents, in the PRV School, which gives you a quick introduction to what patents are. 

Film: About patents in the PRV School

You might also need trademark protection and a design protection. Learn about the differences between the forms of protection.

The differences between different forms of protection




In order for your invention to get a patent, it must meet certain requirements.

It must:

  • be new
  • possess inventiveness
  • be industrially applicable

Novelty: The invention must not have been known previously at the time the patent application was filed. It does not matter by whom or where in the world it has been published. The invention will be considered to have become known even it was you who used or published it.

Inventiveness: ‘Inventiveness’ or ‘inventive step’ means that the invention must differ significantly from anything that has been known previously. The solution may also not have been easily made by a person skilled in the ‘art’, the field of technology of the invention. This means that new ways of combining known methods or objects will not necessarily be patentable.

Industrially applicable: means that it must have a technical nature and technical effect and be reproducible.

A technical nature means that the invention must pertain to something tangible, such as a product or a process, and not just a theory, for example.

Technical effect means that the invention must function and that it must solve a problem in a technical manner. However, the effect does not need to be new or better than earlier solutions.

Reproducibility means that the results must be the same every time the invention is applied.

Read more about the requirements for patents here.

A patent can be valid for a maximum of 20 years. The validity of a patent can end for five reasons: The patent term has expired. The annual fee has not been paid to the Swedish Patent and Registration Office (PRV). The patent holder requests for the patent to no longer be valid. The patent is revoked after opposition. The patent is declared invalid by a public court.

Learn more about how you maintain your patent.

You can get basic help at the Swedish Patent and Registration Office (PRV), such as how to file an application and what fields are compulsory. PRV does not help with technical descriptions and advanced knowledge about your invention. If you need help with this, you can turn to a patent attorney, for example.

Here is a guide for how to complete your application, step by step.

You can find patent information in the Swedish Patent Database and other databases. Here, you can search patents and read the documents in full text.

Databases for patents

At present, you will be able to access digital copies of communications concerning your patent cases. You will still receive the original in paper form. A request for digital copies must be made at the time of filing a patent application with PRV. At the present time, we are unable to grant later requests.

Yes, you can receive search reports and other communications from PRV via our e-services. You need to be registered as an authorised user to access the case files.

You can apply for a new national patent at PRV in different ways:

You can also register a group of authorized users by first applying for a Group ID where you specify which users are to be included. When you apply for a patent, you can register your Group-ID instead of registering one or more authorized users.
Groupaccess add (143 kB)
Groupaccess change (150 kB)

You can conduct a search in the Swedish Patent Database. You can also contact our customer support to find out who the holder of a patent is.

Swedish Patent Database (external website)

You can find patent documents through the Swedish Patent Database, Aktinsyn or Espacenet databases. These services are free of charge. If you do not find the document you are looking for, you can contact PRV's customer support to get help.

Databases for patents

A patent is an exclusive right for the holder to use an invention in various ways. A Swedish patent is only valid in Sweden and you must yourself apply for patents in other countries. If the invention is mainly intended for the Swedish market, it may be enough to have a Swedish patent. You must then be aware that anyone has a right to manufacture, sell or use your invention abroad.

You can read more about the Swedish patent application here.

This question is complex and the answer depends on many factors. We have therefore prepared cost examples to provide a good picture of the costs. All fees for applying and maintaining patents are presented on our fee list.

Cost example for patents with explanations

The Swedish Patent and Registration Office (PRV) fee list for patents

The payment is to be made through Bankgiro.

All information on fees and payment for patents can be found here.

If you failed to pay for a patent, and it has thereby lapsed, there are very limited possibilities to revive the patent. If you discover that the annual fee has not been paid there is a possibility. The discover must then been made within 12 months of the extended deadline for paying the annual fee.

You can request that PRV declare that a late annual fee is considered to have been paid on time. This is through a special procedure according to Section 72 of the Patent Act.

The prerequisites for PRV to grant such a request are that you took all due care required by the circumstances. The unmade payment may not be due to carelessness, ignorance or that one changed one’s mind.

Accordingly, a reinstatement of the patent is not automatic.

There are three different alternatives:

1. An alternative is to file an international Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application. An international PCT application can lead to a protection in around 140 countries, including Sweden. You can file your PCT application via PRV, the European Patent Office (EPO) or the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). At the same time, you choose which authority, PRV or EPO, will examine your application.

Find out more about international patent applications, PCT.

2. Another alternative is to send in separate patent applications directly to the individual countries’ patent offices where you want patents. This is a good way if you know that your market is in certain, relatively few countries. There are also a number of non-European regional patent authorities.

Find out more about foreign national patent applications.

3. A third alternative is to file a regional application to the EPO (a European Patent Convention, EPC, application). With an EPC application, you can get protection in more than 40 countries in Europe, including Sweden. This may be favourable if, for example, you are certain that your invention is new and that the market for the invention is not in Sweden.

Find out more about European patent applications.


Initially, a unitary patent will have effect in:

  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • the Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Slovenia
  • Sweden
  • Germany
  • Austria

Further EU member states will gradually be included.

PRV offers courses where you can learn about intellectual property rights in general or acquire expertise in a specific area. You can also attend our PRV School online, which is free of charge. It has an entire chapter about patents.

You can read more about our courses here.

PRV School online

Do you have any further questions?

Our customer support is there to answer your questions and concerns. Customer support can also help you get in touch with our experts if necessary. Customer support also has an extensive network of contacts with other innovation actors. They can advise you on whom to contact for further support and advice.

Telephone: +46 (0)8 782 28 00

Contact customer support