What It Is
A patent is a right granted by law to the owner of an invention that prevents others from making, using, importing or selling the invention.
A patentable invention can be a product or a process that gives a new technical solution to a problem. It can also be a new method of doing things, the composition of a new product, or a technical improvement on how certain objects work. Once it is granted, its term of a patent is 20 years from the Date of Filing, subject to the payment of annual fees.
Benefits of Registering
Once you register a patent, apart from using the patent to prevent others from exploiting your invention, you can employ it to raise funds for your business, license it to third parties for commercial returns or sell the patented invention.
For an invention to be patentable, it must, in general, satisfy three key criteria:
- NEW – The invention should not be publicly known in any way, anywhere in the world.
Owners of inventions should be careful to keep the invention secret until a patent application has been successfully made. If the idea has already been talked about, commercially exploited, advertised or demonstrated, then the novelty of the invention may be compromised.
- INVENTIVE PROCESS – The invention must be something that represents an improvement over any existing product or process that is already available.
The improvement must not be obvious to someone with technical skills or knowledge in the invention’s particular field. If an invention is new yet obvious to a person skilled in the art, the invention would not fulfill the inventive process requirement.
- INDUSTRIAL APPLICATION – The invention must be useful and have some form of practical application. It should be capable of being made or used in some form of industry.
The following is not a patentable invention: An invention of a method for the treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy, or of a diagnosis practiced on the human or animal body. An invention that could encourage offensive, immoral or anti-social behavior, even if it satisfies the key criteria for patents.