A patent protects new inventions and covers how things work, what they do, how they do it, what they are made of and how they are made. It gives the owner the right to prevent others from making, using, importing or selling the invention without permission.
The invention must:
- Be new
- Have an inventive step that is not obvious to someone with knowledge and experience in the subject
- Be capable of being made or used in some kind of industry
- a scientific or mathematical discovery, theory or method
- a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work
- a way of performing a mental act, playing a game or doing business
- the presentation of information, or some computer programs
- an animal or plant variety
- a method of medical treatment or diagnosis
- against public policy or morality.
- If the invention meets these requirements, then a person may want to consider applying for a patent.
- If someone have a granted patent, it must be renewed it every year after the 5th year for up to 20 years protection.
A patent gives the owner the right to stop others from copying, manufacturing, selling, and importing the invention without his/her permission. The existence of a patent may be enough on its own to stop others from trying to exploit that invention. If it does not, it gives the owner the right to take legal action to stop them exploiting the invention and to claim damages
Sell the invention and all the intellectual property (IP) rights
License the invention to someone else but retain all the IP rights
Discuss the invention with others in order to set up a business based around the invention.
The public also benefit from the patent because it is usually published after 18 months. Others can then gain advance knowledge of technological developments which they will eventually be able to use freely once the patent ceases.
If people do not patent their inventions, anyone can use, make or sell that invention without his/her permission. People can attempt to keep the invention secret, but this may not be possible for a product where the technology is on display.
If someone has an invention, for example a new product or process, they may be able to protect it by filing for a patent.
A granted patent will give the inventor exclusive rights over the invention and they will be able to take legal action against anyone who uses it without permission.
If the inventor does not apply to protect the invention, it will allow anyone to use it without permission. The owner may be able to protect the invention by keeping it a secret but this will only be possible if it would be difficult to copy the process, construction or formulation from the product itself.