A patent is an intellectual house right that gives the holder, not an working proper, but a proper to prohibit the use by a third celebration of the patented invention, from a how to obtain a patent particular date and for a limited duration (generally 20 years).

Some nations might at the time of registration issue a "provisional patent" and could grant a "grace period" of 1 year which avoids the invalidity of the patent to an inventor who disclosed his invention just before filing a patent in a non-confidential basis with the benefit of permitting rapid dissemination of technical info while reserving the industrial exploitation of the invention. Dependent on the country, the 1st "inventor" or the first "filer" has priority to the patent.

The patent is legitimate only in a offered territory. As a result, the patent remains national. It is achievable to file a patent application for a certain nation (INPI for France, the USPTO for the U.S., JPO for Japan), or a group of countries (with the EPO for 38 European countries, filing a PCT application for the 142 signatories of the Treaty). As a result, a patent application may possibly idea for a product cover numerous countries.

In return, the invention should be disclosed to the public. In practice, patents are automatically published 18 months after the priority date, that is to say, soon after the initial filing, except in unique cases.

To be patentable, aside from the truth that it need to be an "invention", an invention should also meet three important criteria.

1. It need to be new, that is to say that nothing at all similar has ever been available to the public information, by any signifies whatsoever (written, invention ideas oral, use. ), and anyplace. It also must not match the articles of a patent that was filed but not however published.

2. It have to have inventive step, that is to say, it can not be apparent from the prior art.

3. It have to have industrial application, that is to say, it can be employed or manufactured in any sort of market, including agriculture (excluding works of art or crafts, for instance).

When a company believes that its competitors are unlikely to uncover a single of its secrets and techniques throughout the time period of coverage of any patent, or that the firm would not be ready to detect infringement or enforce its rights, it can select not to file, which carries a danger and a benefit.

The risk: If a competitor finds the very same approach and obtains a patent on it, the business may possibly be prohibited to use his very own invention ( the French law and American law vary on this stage, a single contemplating the proof at the date of discovery, and the other at the date of publication). French law also consists of a so-called exception of "prior individual possession" for a person who can prove that the alleged invention was indeed infringed previously in its possession prior to the filing date of the patent application. In such case, operation would only be ready to carry on for that individual on the French territory.

The advantage: If there is no patent, the technique is not published and for that reason the company can anticipate to continue operation in theory indefinitely (Even so in practice, a person will most likely find the notion one particular day, but the duration of protection may end up longer in complete). This method of trade secret and consequently non- patenting is utilized in some cases by the chemical sector.