The process from an invention to a patent
BEFORE the application of a patent
Once an invention disclosure has been made, the University can decide whether it will take the rights of the invention or not. This decision is made, among to other things, on the basis of the capacity of a property right. The examination is performed either in the Team Technology Transfer, with the support of a patent law firm or by external partners (e.g. aws).
A patent search done before or during the research, facilitates the examination and accelerates the process. If you are interested, please just contact the team Technology Transfer.
If there is an initial meeting with a patent attorney or an external exploitation agency, the following points are discussed and examinated afterwards:
- technical field
- novelty and presence of an inventive step
- market potential
- patent search
- ownership of the invention and possible claims of third parties
- potential for a technical realization
- considerations about the patent strategy (national patent, european or international application)
The patent application
The date of the application is very important, as the inventor gets the right of priority. This priority shall secure the inventor over any later registered identical invention. Furthermore there is one year (from the priority date) time to internationalize the patent. So the priority application gives a potential patent protection in many countries without the necessity of immediately register the patent in all this countries. There is also the advantage that you have more time to estimate the market potential and think about a good patent strategy.
After a formal check (completeness of the documents, necessary signatures, paid fees) the invention is checked for patentability (novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability). If everything is ok, it comes to the publication of the application.
The publication notice of the application is carried out in the official patent journal.
Within 4 months from the date of publication it is possible to opposite against the grant of a patent. Everyone (especially competitors) may raise an objection. However, objections must contain concrete reasons why the patent should not be granted.
Grant of the patent
If there is no opposition, the patent will be granted (after payment of the first annual fee).
How long will it take?
The time to get the first examination report, varies greatly, but normally this should be after 6 to 9 months to be the case if no foreign priority is claimed. The applicant may respond to the preliminary examination within 2 months. On request it is possible to extend this period.
Depending on the content of the examination, it often takes 9-18 months until a patent is granted, but it can also take much longer. In general, the auditors are very cooperative there is a case of urgency.