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Most frequent questions and answers
Patents protect inventions with a techincal effect. A patent is granted by a patent office and enforced nationally. A patent gives the owner the right to stop others using their claimed invention for up to 20 years. There is no such thing as an International Patent although there is an International Patent Application system. A patent application is published 18 months after the first filing date. Please keep your invention secret until you have filed a patent application.
Drafting the patent specification document depends on the length of time spent by the patent professional. Usually costs are between 1500 Euros and 3500 Euros ex VAT. The cost of prosecuting a patent application to grant depends on where you apply, for example a UK Patent Application could cost another 2500 to 5000 Euros including official fees. A European patent application could cost between 4000 and 7500 Euros including official fees. These are approximate quotes so please get in touch for more detailed and accurate figures..
A patent is a serious legal obstacle to competitors from copying your product or process where you have a patent on that product or process. Although a patent is a cost, it can be monetised by
- increased sales of the product or process with the patented advantage
New processes, products or uses of already known prodcuts/processes can be patented. It is essential that you keep your invention secret otherwise it will be used to invalidate your own patent application on the invention. Some exceptions exist but these are expensive and problematic. Its far cheaper not to publish anything until a patent application has been filed.
Non obvious developments are also patentable. If a non inventive person skilled in the relevant technology would think the new feature you developed is obvious, then a patent examiner will not grant the patent.
A patent search informs the client of what published patent applications are relevant to their invention. Novelty searches are focused searches that try to find the closest if not identical published patent applications to the invention searched. If your invention already exists, this search will save you significant costs.
Patent landscape searches are more strategic and give the client valuable insight into trends and emerging new technologies as well as what your competitors are doing. White space searches find new technology areas that could be of interest to the client, that competitors have not yet thought of.
Patents are nationally registered rights, for example you can file a patent application at the Irish Patent Office or the UK patent office directly and pay the required official fees (filing, search and examination feees). A European Patent application saves time a costs by filing a single application at the European Patent Office that covers all EU member states and a few other non EU countries too including the UK.
The Patent Cooperation Treaty allows one patent applciation to cover over 150 countries around the world initially. After 30 months the applicant must chose which countries or regions the patent application should be prosecuted in. It does not enable an International Patent to be granted, it is simply a way to cover most of the world for over two years, and then select where to continue the application’s prosecution for grant. This International Application can cost between 6500 Euros and 8500 Euros including official fees of over 3000 Euros.
Ireland has a short term patent that lasts 10 years and is suitable for simple inventions and Irish SMEs servicing the Irish Market only. This is a relatively cost effective option although the initial drafting costs are about the same, you save on the prosecution costs as the application is normally granted after some basic formality checks by the Exmainer.
Only granted patents are enforceable, pending patent applications have provisional rights and can not be enforced until the patent is granted. Normally a letter informing a third party of your granted patent is sent to the third party This varies from country to country but generally a patent is enforced by bringing legal proceedings in a court of law. Success can result in an injunction to stop further infringement and possibly damages.
A design right is regiserable and protects the visual appearance of a product, especially the overall product but can protect parts of the product that can be seen and is not purely functional.
A Trade Mark is also regsiterable and should be a unique and distinctive sign to represent the product or service. In time reputaiton can be associated with the trade mark. Trade marks can be shapes, symbols, words, names, logos, even smells or sounds.
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