This is the phase of your patent application where you decide on which countries outside of your home country where you want to get a patent protection. If you think that your invention may have chances to perform better in German, Canadian, South Korean, Australian and Chinese markets, you would be choosing patent offices of these countries to begin the national phase of your patent application. After selecting your desired countries, you pay their fees, submit your translated patent application, appoint a local patent agent, and the like.
Their patent office then begins conducting a separate patent search on their end to check the novelty of your patent application to decide whether your application is eligible to receive a patent protection or not. PCT is a cheaper way to protect your patent application in multiple countries. Aside from that, it also gives you a timeline of 30 months from your earliest filing date to decide countries where you think your invention may have a chance to make money. Kanika Sharma is a patent research analyst at GreyB Services.
GreyB is a technology research and consultancy firm that helps Fortune companies and top law firms across the world with its technological insights. Should You Patent Your Idea? Here's how to file a patent in multiple countries. The holy grail of priority date Before we move on, let me just explain the concept of priority date. What should you do? How does it help? Who makes filing a patent application in multiple countries possible?
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How to file a patent application under the PCT An inventor that wants to file a patent application in multiple countries using the PCT route should first file a patent application with their own national patent office. International phase 1.
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International Search Authority International Search Authority ISA then takes the charge to conduct a patent search to find any relevant patent document and research papers that can challenge the novelty of your patent application. Supplementary international search In case you have doubts regarding the comprehensiveness of search results in the ISR of your international patent application, and you think there may exist a prior art that can jeopardize your invention, you can request that ISA conduct another search.
National phase: Starting the patent process in other countries This is the phase of your patent application where you decide on which countries outside of your home country where you want to get a patent protection. Conclusion PCT is a cheaper way to protect your patent application in multiple countries.
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Minimum 4 characters are required. On the other hand, if the number of countries of Europe in which patent protection is desired is much greater than just one or two countries, then it would be probably be economical to file directly with the European Patent Office. Of course, people doing patent searching do it to solve any of a range of questions.
Filing Canadian patent applications - Canadian Intellectual Property Office
If a person is doing a "novelty search", which is a search intended to determine whether a concept is novel and perhaps patentable , it is necessary to have access to patent information going back for a period of time that makes sense given the technical area being searched. This often means that one needs to have patent records going back at least 10 years and in many cases 20 or 30 years.
Another type of search that some people want to do is an infringement search. This is a search which is intended to uncover any patents that might be infringed by particular proposed device or conduct. Since each patent has an expiration date, such a search typically only requires going back far enough in time to cover all the patents that have not yet expired.
In the case of United States patents, this typically requires databases going back 20 years or more. See also How can I determine whether a particular patent has expired? I am considering selling a product which would infringe on a patent that was issued long enough ago that it might have expired, but not long enough ago that I know that it has expired. How do I determine if this patent is still in force in which case I would need to license or design around it or if it has been allowed to expire, in which case I can use it without fear of repercussions?
Depending on the country that issued the patent, you may be able to find out the answer from the web site of the patent office of that country. There are also commercial database services designed to help answer these questions. For example, you can check Dialog file , Inpadoc, which contains the legal status of patents.
You can check Lexis file Patents Util. If the patent has expired for failure to pay maintenance fees, an expiration date will generally be shown. You can check Shepard's Patent Citator found in law libraries. If the patent has expired, the expiration will likely have been mentioned in the PTO Official Gazette. The OG citation will be in the Shepard's volume.
Or you could hire a patent professional who is familiar with such things to look it up for you. A patent may be contrasted with a copyright in several important ways. A copyright typically covers only the expression of a work, and does not do anything to stop people from appropriating clever ideas that happened to be embodied in that work. In contrast, a patent can sometimes be used to stop someone who looks at a copyright work, extracts the clever ideas from it, and creates a new system embodying those clever ideas.
It is only a slight oversimplification to say that if there are clever ideas in your software, and if you wish to protect those clever ideas, you are unlikely to be able to do so through copyright, but may be able to do so through patent. Many patent applications are filed that never yield an issued patent. See What does it cost to get a patent? In contrast, a copyright registration is granted almost as matter of course upon filing a relatively simple and relatively inexpensive copyright registration application.
There is a tension between the notion of trade secrets and patents. One approach to protecting intellectual property is to hold everything as a trade secret. The decision to apply for a patent includes necessarily a decision to take some fraction of one's trade secrets and to give them away, in return for the grant of a patent. The decision to apply for a patent does not necessarily require giving up all of one's trade secrets, however.
One might have trade secrets on inventions A, B, and C, and applying for a patent on C might not require giving up the trade secret status of A and B. However, to obtain a U. This might require revealing A and B in the application. If so, it would probably make sense to seek patent protection on A and B as well as on C. Depending on the time sequence, one could patent an invention and simultaneously keep secret an improved version of the invention.
16-Steps: How to File a Non-Provisional Utility Patent Application
If the only patent being sought is a United States patent, then the decision to give up trade secrets to obtain a patent is not, at present, an irreversible one. The reason for this is that if the applicant has requested non-publication of the US patent application, then the U. Patent Office until such time as a patent issues. At any point prior to payment of the issue fee, an applicant could is permitted to abandon the patent application, in which case it would remain secret thereafter. At such time as the patent issues or the patent application is published, it reveals to the public any and all trade secrets that are contained within it.
To review what was said earlier, recall that at the time the patent application was being drafted, the drafter would have included within the application everything required to enable one skilled in the art to practice the claimed invention. This means that the issued patent application will contain not only the exact wording of the invention, but will also contain such other things as are required to enable someone skilled in the art to practice the invention.
In addition, when the U. This means the issued patent contains not only that which is necessary to enable someone to practice the invention, but also discloses the best mode known to the applicant for practicing the invention. As mentioned above, the U. If it turns out after several years of patent prosecution that patent protection is not available, the applicant can simply abandon the application and retain the trade secrets therein.
It is quite different in most countries outside of the U. Depending on the country, there are sometimes ways to withdraw an application in advance of the month publication date, thus protecting its trade secrets. Thus the applicant who wants to pursue patent protection outside of the U.
For some applicants the month publication is not as great a drawback as it might seem. After all, some inventions get revealed to the public automatically through sales of the patented product, in which case revelation of the product's secrets through the month publication would not make much difference.
In any event, the applicant must consider the possibility of loss of a trade secret through issuance of a U. It is not inconsistent to seek both copyright and design patent protection, depending on the nature of what is being protected. Design patent protection is, of course, available only on articles of manufacture and then only on the novel and ornamental aspects thereof. Copyright protection is available on most articles of manufacture but also on many other works.
The copyright term in the US is 50 or 75 years, while the design patent term in the US is 14 years. Copyright protection is available without your even having to ask for it, although of course it is prudent to place a copyright notice on the work and to register the copyright with the copyright office. Design patent protection is available only after filing a design patent application with the Patent Office, and then only if the application is allowed by the Patent Office after examination.