The Patent Application
The patent may be viewed as an agreement between the inventor or applicant on the one hand and the government on the other. The patentee receives a time-limited exclusivity for the invention, in exchange for letting the patent be published to form part of the general body of knowledge upon which continued technological advancements can be made.
Patent protection can only be obtained by applying at a patent office. All patents are national, even if the application process in some cases can be co-ordinated across several countries.
In order to obtain patent protection for an invention, three basic conditions must be fulfilled:
- It must be novel.
- It must involve a so-called inventive step.
- It must be industrially applicable.
Novelty of an invention means that it in no way has been disclosed anywhere in the world before the filing date of the patent application. Hence, the invention must not have been described in any brochure, magazine, oral presentation or the like, and must not have been displayed, used or marketed in such a way so that it has become publicly known or such that any person could have taken part thereof. Therefore, it is very important that the inventor does not destroy the novelty by disclosing the invention to the public before filing a patent application.
Inventive step means that the invention must differ sufficiently from all which was known before the filing date of the application. This means that for a skilled person in the relevant art, the invention cannot be an obvious solution to the problem which the invention sets out to solve. This skilled person is considered to have access to all published technology within the technical fields relevant to the invention.
That an invention is industrially applicable means that it must have a technical character and a technical effect. The invention must be such that a predictable result can be achieved every time it is performed, in other words it must be reproducible. The result achieved, on the other hand, needs not be better or more efficient than what has been achieved before. The expressions “industrial” and “technical” in this context are to be interpreted very broadly, and refer both to the manufacture and use of an invention.