For an invention to be susceptible to protection as a utility model it must meet the requirements of novelty, inventive step and industrial application (as is the case for patents).
A utility model is understood as any invention which is new and involves an inventive step which consists of giving an object a configuration, structure or constitution that results in a practically significant advantage in its use or manufacture. The protection is for a period of 10 years from the date the invention is filed.
After they have applied for the patent, companies which develop chemical and pharmaceutical products need to make a substantial investment and perform clinical trials so as to obtain authorisation prior to marketing the product. This process reduces the effective protection period given by the patent. The SPC aims to offset this reduction in the effective protection time.
The following products are subject to protection under an SPC: -An active ingredient of a medicine -An active substance of a phitosanitary product -Combinations of active principles/substances -Mixtures of two substances in which at least one is active
The Supplementary Protection Certificate (SPC) is an industrial property certificate which extends, for a maximum period of five years, the protection granted for a patent to an active ingredient or combination of active ingredients present in a pharmaceutical or phitosanitary product after the patent has expired.
These applications are processed through the International Office of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
The company files one international application, without having to file several national or regional patents in one language, and pays only one set of fees. Grant of the patent is still the prerogative of national or regional patent offices in what is called the “national phase”.
The 26 member states of the European Union are currently members of the European Patent Organisation (EPO countries): Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, United Kingdom, Czech Republic and Sweden. The following countries also form part of the European Patent Organisation (EPO countries): Switzerland, Croatia, Monaco, the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, Norway, Turkey, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro.
It has the advantage that it involves only one administration, specifically the European Patent Office (hereinafter, EPO) which manages the procedure and grants European patents, with the resulting unification of administrative proceedings and requirements.
The company makes only one European patent application and may designate, at its choice, all the countries making up the European Patent Convention (EPC) or only some of them.
The company may apply for a national patent in each country where it wishes to obtain protection.
Yes, in most countries publication of the invention in any forum, and by any means, breaks the invention’s novelty. It is therefore understood as not meeting that requirement for its protection.
It is important to file a patent application before publicly disclosing the details of the invention. Inventions which are disclosed before an application is filed will generally be considered part of the state of the art. Therefore, the invention would not meet the novelty requirement. In general, inventions which are disclosed before an application is filed will be considered part of the state of the art. In the event that disclosure of the invention is inevitable, for example to a possible investor or commercial partner, before filing the patent application, the disclosure must be accompanied by a non-disclosure agreement.
As soon as it is developed, without having made any prior public disclosure (publications, exhibition in trade fairs etc). Immediately, if there is the danger of third parties disclosing or finding out about the invention.
The expiry of a patent means that the patented invention enters the public domain from the moment in which the facts or omissions which gave rise to the expiry take place.
The patent holder, in exchange for the exploitation monopoly granted by the State, undertakes to describe the invention sufficiently so that an average person skilled in the art can execute it (by publishing this description, the State manages to increase the total national technological knowledge). The holder also has the obligation to exploit the patent either itself or through a person that it authorises.
For a patent to be granted the invention must be new, involve an inventive step and be susceptible to industrial application: Novelty: New is considered as everything which does not form part of the state of the art. Everything which has not been made accessible to the public before the date that the patent application is filed. Inventive step: An invention is considered to involve an inventive step when, on being compared with existing inventions, it is not obvious to a person skilled in the art. Industrial application: If the invention can be manufactured or introduced in any kind of industry.
Inventions relating to machines, appliances, devices, procedures, products etc can be protected as patents. Discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods, as well as plans, rules and methods for performing intellectual activities, games or economic-commercial activities and computer programmes etc are NOT patentable.