Any business introducing a new product to the market must be aware of the importance of intellectual property rights. When developing a new product, it is vital to have a firm grasp of the relevant patent prosecution systems, the different filing and licensing strategies and the basics of patent law.
The basic requirement for all patentable IP is novelty or ‘non obvious’ difference over what already exists. A full patent specification includes an abstract; title; introduction; description (with one or more detailed working examples); drawings, if necessary; and claims, setting out the invention the applicant owns or claims to own.
Most businesses use professional experts, known as patent attorneys, to help draft and file their patent application.The Irish Patent Office filing fee is €165. However, the cost of engaging a patent attorney or another patent professional to draft the patent specification can range from €2,000 to €5,000.
All about patents
A provisional patent application costs about €1,000 in total and the full patent application must be filed within one year. Patents can last for a period of up to 20 years, excluding the first priority year. An international patent application can cost up to €6,000, including all official fees and attorney costs.
It is not uncommon for companies, requiring patents in various national and regional territories, to pay €50,000 over five or more years. Therefore, it is important to gain income from the sales or licensing of the invention as soon as possible.
Translation and validation costs, across all of the members of the European Patents system, make it expensive.
EU patent system
In February, however, the European Parliament gave its consent for the creation of a common EU patent system. Some challenges remain, however. Italy and Spain did not sign up and the EU Court of Justice initially rejected the proposed EU Patent Court. If these issues are resolved, a common EU patent could benefit Irish entrepreneurs, who are bringing new products to the single European market.
The arrival of the Unitary European Patent adds an extra dimension to the growing numbers of Patent Prosecution HighWays (PPH), which now link different patent offices multilaterally, including Europe, Britain, the US and Japan. Under the PPH system, each member office will grant a patent, where the applicant has received a positive patentability report from an examiner in another PPH country.
We at PatentNav recently launched a free iPhone and iPad app called Inventoraid, which offers basic patent information and advice to non experts. We are also organising a series of educational seminars around Ireland this year aimed at companies or individuals interested in learning more about the latest developments within the Irish and European patent systems.
The next event will be held in Kilkenny on April 26 to coincide with World International Property Day. We will also host a seminar on pharmaceutical patents in Carlow on May 31 and another on IP tax issues on October 2011. More information is available at www.patentnav.com