Exceptions to exclusive rights

In order to promote technological development and accommodate public interests, there are a number of limitations to the exclusive right that a patent gives.

Personal use

It is permitted to use a patented invention for personal needs, for example, to pursue a hobby.


In times of war or threat of war, an invention can be forcibly bought by the government for defence purposes.

Invention of particular importance to the military

The government can order that the military, in return for reasonable compensation, be allowed to use an invention which is of particular importance to the military.

Preparation of medicine in a pharmacy

Pharmacy staff should not be hindered by patents when they are going to prepare and dispense medicine from a doctor's prescription. This exception does not apply to preparation for stock purposes in a pharmacy.

Previous user rights

Someone who clearly uses or has taken considerable steps to use an invention professionally when a patent application is filed, can continue to do so to the same extent, even after a patent has been granted. This is so that the investments in resources and equipment that are often required, for example, to start up production, do not go to waste.


A patented invention can be used for experiments which relate to the invention itself. One of the cornerstones of the patent system is the publication of material that can be used as a source of knowledge and as a starting point for further research.

Compulsory licence

In certain situations, including if a patent owner's use of exclusive rights is contrary to important public interests, a court can issue a compulsory licence, meaning a licence right for someone other than the patent owner to use the patent.

Consumption principle

The first time that a patented invention is acquired, the exclusive rights to a particular copy of it have been used. That means someone who has bought a product can sell it freely or grant further use of it. On the other hand, a patented product which has been imported or manufactured for private use cannot be used professionally without the patent owner's permission.

Foreign vehicles

In order to facilitate international transportation, a patented invention can be used in foreign means of transport, such as ships or aircraft. This exception only applies if the invention is used in means of communication, for example, for their operational needs.