A patent is an intellectual property appropriate that offers the holder, not an working right, but a appropriate to prohibit the use by a third party of the patented invention, from a specific date and for a limited duration (normally twenty many years).

Some nations may at the time of registration problem a "provisional patent" and may grant a "grace period" of 1 year which avoids the invalidity of the patent to an inventor who disclosed his invention prior to filing a patent in a non-confidential basis with the advantage of enabling rapid dissemination of technical info although reserving the industrial exploitation of the invention. Dependent on the nation, the initial "inventor" or the initial "filer" has priority to the patent.

The patent is legitimate only in a inventions provided territory. Thus, the patent product launch remains national. It is feasible 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 nations, filing a PCT application for the 142 signatories of the Treaty). Thus, a patent application may cover several countries.

In return, the invention need to be disclosed to the public. In practice, patents are automatically published 18 months following the priority date, that is to say, following the 1st filing, except in special instances.

To be patentable, apart from the fact that it should be an "invention", an invention have to also meet 3 crucial criteria.

1. It must be new, that is to say that absolutely nothing comparable has ever been accessible to the public knowledge, by any means whatsoever (written, oral, use. ), and anyplace. It also should not match the material of a patent that was filed but not but published.

2. It should have inventive stage, that is to say, it can not be clear from the prior artwork.

3. It have to have industrial application, that is to say, it can be utilised or manufactured in any type of industry, such as agriculture (excluding works of art or crafts, for illustration).

When a business believes that its competitors are unlikely to find out one of its secrets and techniques for the duration of the period of coverage of any patent, or that the firm would not be ready to detect infringement or enforce its rights, it can choose not to file, which carries a chance and a advantage.

The danger: If a competitor finds the identical method and obtains a patent on it, the business could be prohibited to use his personal invention ( the French law and American law vary on this point, one particular contemplating the proof at the date of discovery, and the other at the date of publication). French law also involves a so-called exception of "prior personal possession" for a particular person who can show that the alleged invention was certainly infringed currently in its possession prior to the filing date of the patent application. In this kind of situation, operation would only be in a position to carry on for that individual on the French territory.

The benefit: If there is no patent, the method is not published and therefore the business can count on to proceed operation in concept indefinitely (Nonetheless in practice, an individual will probably locate the thought 1 day, but the duration of safety may end up longer in complete). This method of trade secret and for that reason how to get a patent non- patenting is utilised in some instances by the chemical market.