Filing a patent in Europe is not easy, but it does remain an excellent way to protect your invention or innovation. Patent law is often complex, and if you are not used to dealing with this area it may help to get a professional on board to guide you through the process. But in the beginning, here are some key details concerning the patent procedure that you need to know.
- Not All Inventions Are Patentable
Even if you believe your invention is worthy of a patent, the reality may be that by law it will not be accepted by the patent office in Europe. In order to be patentable, an invention must be new. This sounds obvious, but the definition of new can be complex. It must also feature an inventive step that is not obvious to a person who is termed an expert in the field. It must be industrially applicable; i.e. it must be a physical possibility to construct the item. You cannot patent an idea.
- Software is a Difficult Area
You will almost certainly need the help of a european patent attorney when you are looking to patent computer software or computer processes. Software is not likely to be able to be patented, but inventions that are carried out on computers via software are. The patent procedure differs between Europe and the US so even if you think you know about software patents in America, you may not be aware of the process in Europe.
- Other Forms of Protection May Work
Patenting is not the only legal way to get your invention protected. There are other methods of intellectual property protection that can help safeguard your innovation. Again, it is a good idea to consult a patent attorney who will realistically tell you if your invention is a good fit for the patent process.
- Patents Can Be Expensive
You need a good idea of how much money your invention will bring in so that you can justify the cost of the patent. It is not the cheapest thing to do but it can pay off in the long run, provided your invention has excellent commercial capabilities. You also need to know that you have the robust capabilities to defend your product should the patent be challenged. Knowing that this is a possibility means that you will be in a better position to face any possible legal challenge. It is definitely a good idea to consult an attorney so that you have a clear view of the process and what you need to do now and in the future to protect your invention.
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