A patent is an intellectual residence correct that gives the holder, not an working correct, but a proper to prohibit the use by a third celebration of the patented invention, from a particular date and for a restricted duration (normally twenty years).

Some countries could at the time of registration problem a "provisional patent" and may possibly grant a "grace time period" of a single yr 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 speedy dissemination of technical information although reserving the industrial exploitation of the invention. Depending on the country, the first "inventor" or the initial "filer" has priority to the patent.

The patent is valid only in a offered territory. Thus, the patent stays nationwide. It is possible to file a patent application for a particular country (INPI for France, the USPTO for the U.S., JPO for Japan), or a group of countries (with the EPO for 38 European nations, filing a PCT application for the 142 signatories of the Treaty). Therefore, a patent application could cover a number of nations.

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, after the 1st filing, except in special cases.

To be patentable, aside from the truth that it need to be patent protection an "invention", an invention must also meet 3 essential criteria.

1. It should be new, that is to say that nothing comparable has ever been accessible to the public knowledge, by any implies whatsoever (written, oral, use. ), and anywhere. It also ought to not match the articles of a patent that was filed but not yet published.

2. It should have inventive step, that is to say, it can't be evident from the prior art.

3. It have to have industrial application, that is to say, it can be utilised or produced in any variety of market, such as agriculture (excluding works of art or crafts, for instance).

When a business believes that its rivals are unlikely to uncover a single of its secrets during the period of coverage of any patent, or that the firm would not be ready to detect infringement or enforce its rights, it can pick not to file, which carries a danger and a benefit.

The risk: If a competitor finds the exact same process and obtains a patent on it, the business may be prohibited to use his very own invention ( the French law and American invention patent law vary on this point, a single considering the evidence at the date of discovery, and the other at the date of publication). French law also includes a so-called exception of "prior personalized possession" for a individual who can demonstrate that the alleged invention was certainly infringed currently in its possession prior to the filing date of the patent application. In this kind of case, operation would only be ready to continue for that person on the French territory.

The benefit: If there is no patent, the strategy is not published and consequently the business can expect to proceed operation in theory indefinitely (Even so in practice, someone will most likely find the idea 1 day, but how to obtain a patent the duration of safety might finish up longer in total). This program of trade secret and consequently non- patenting is used in some cases by the chemical sector.