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A patent

A patent is an exclusive right given by law to the owners of inventions to make use of, and exploit, their invention for a fixed period of time. The patent gives the owner the right to prevent others from making, using, selling or importing the invention without the inventor’s permission. In this way the patent owner can prevent others from benefiting from the invention without their consent. Patents promote technology development around the world by rewarding the inventor for sharing information about their inventions(s) with a temporary monopoly right.

Patents are granted in a given jurisdiction or country.  The inventor must file an application in each jurisdiction where protection is sought. There are international treaties that facilitate patent registration in multiple jurisdictions according to a prescribed schedule.  It is important that the inventor consult with a patent professional since the rules for patent registration differ slightly from one jurisdiction to another. Once a patent is granted, its term is 20 years from the date on which the first application for a patent on the same invention was filed, subject to the payment of renewal fees. Failure to pay renewal fees causes the patent rights to lapse.

Once a patent is granted the owner is free sell it to another party or to license other parties to use the patented invention.

For an invention to be patentable it must be novel, non-obvious and useful.


Publicity of the invention should not be disclosed in any way or anywhere globally.  Inventors should be careful not to disclose their invention to a third party until a patent application has been made. The novelty of the invention might be compromised if the idea will be talked about, commercially misused, advertised or demonstrated.

A non-disclosure agreement should be drawn up if the invention needs to be disclosed to a third party before a patent application has been made.

The invention can claim a “Patent Pending” status and the applicant can proceed to disclose the invention as indicated in the patent application to interested parties, once a Date of Filing has been obtained for the patent application. If the statutory requirements are met then the patent application will be published after 18 months. Information of the invention will be made available for public inspection once the patent is published.


For an invention to be patentable it must be something that represents an improvement over any existing product or process that is already available.

The invention would not fulfil the inventive step requirement, if an invention is new yet obvious to a person skilled in the art. That’s why it crucial that the improvement must not be obvious to someone with technical skills or knowledge in the invention’s particular field.


For an invention to patentable it must be useful and have some form of practical application. It should be applicable in some form of industry.

The following are some of the inventions that are not patentable: if an invention falls under the category of a method for treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy, or of a diagnosis done on the human or animal body and also an invention that could encourage unpleasant, immoral or anti-social conduct, even if it satisfies the key criteria for patents.

Furthermore, before applying for a patent it is necessary to decide whether a patent is appropriate for your idea, where you want to patent it and what is involved in patent application process. It is important to look for a qualified and experienced patent agent who will carefully and comfortably take you through patent application in a way you understand best. Applying for a patent can be tedious and complicated always ensure to make the right decision for satisfying results.


Novelty means the invention must be new.  Novelty is generally evaluated by reviewing printed publications such as previous patents, scientific publications, product catalogs and the Internet.  Inventors should be careful to not to disclose their invention to a third party until a patent application has been filed as such disclosure can destroy novelty of the invention.

In some cases a non-disclosure agreement can keep shared information “non-public” and preserve the novelty of the shared information.

Once an application is filed the inventor can say “Patent Pending”. Once the patent is pending, public disclosure cannot destroy novelty since novelty is evaluated as of the filing date of the application. In most cases the patent application is published 18 months after filing.


In addition to being novel, an invention must be “non-obvious”. Analysis of obviousness is done based upon the perspective of a hypothetical Person of Ordinary Skill in the Art (POSITA). The obviousness analysis is a legal analysis and the details vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. That is one reason that a patent may be granted in one jurisdiction and not in another.


For an invention to be patentable it must be useful and have some form of practical application. In some jurisdictions the requirement is for “industrial applicability”.

Some jurisdictions prohibit patents on methods for treatment of the human and/or animal body and/or diagnoses of the human and/or animal body.

Many jurisdictions preclude patents on inventions that are against “public order”.

Business Considerations 

Applying for a patents is costly in terms of both money and effort. The patent examination process can take years and does not always produce the desired results. Inventors are urged to consider their inventions in a business context and decide rationally whether the potential benefit of a granted patent justifies the investment of time and money.