Patents

PATENTS

(TERM: 20 YEARS FROM FILING)

A patent of industrial invention is a tool through which those who made an invention are granted a temporary exclusive right to exploit the invention in the territory of the State where the patent is requested.
In other words, the right to exclude third parties from exploiting the invention and making profit from the same.
It can be thus ensured, on one hand, that the inventor has a return on the investment that made possible the development of the invention and, on the other, that third parties cannot take advantages by exploiting someone else’s invention.

This legal exclusive right is justified by the fact that the holder of the patent is granted a protection for an invention and in exchange, at the end of the twenty-year term of the exclusive right, the inventor makes the invention available to the community.

By offering protection in exchange for disclosure, the patent system enables further technical progress to be achieved.

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED TO FILE NATIONAL APPLICATIONS IN SWITZERLAND

  • POWER OF ATTORNEY 
    Signed without legalization by the applicant if a natural person, or, in the case of a company, by the legal representative.
    The signatory’s address and position within the company must be indicated.
  • TEXT OF THE SPECIFICATION (Italian, German or French)
    With claims and an abstract indicating the drawing to be published.
  • DRAWINGS
    According to national rules
  • DESIGNATION OF THE INVENTOR
    Compulsory within 16 months of the filing date.
  • PRIORITY DOCUMENT
    If Priority is claimed, a certified copy of the prior application must be filed within 16 months.

EUROPEAN PATENT

A European patent is a unified filing, examination and issuance procedure which allows a set of National patents to be obtained.
The grant procedure requires a single application, drafted in a single language, and involves a unified procedure which permits the patent obtained to be extended to all member States of the European Organisation:

ALBANIA
AUSTRIA
BELGIUM
BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA
BULGARIA
CYPRUS
CROATIA
ESTONIA
DENMARK
FINLAND
FRANCE
GERMANY
GREECE

IRELAND
ICELAND
ITALY
LATVIA
LIECHTENSTEIN
LITHUANIA
LUXEMBOURG
MALTA
MONACO
NORWAY
NETHERLANDS
POLAND
PORTUGAL

UNITED KINGDOM
REP. OF MACEDONIA
CZECH REPUBLIC
ROMANIA
SAN MARINO
SERBIA
SLOVAKIA
SLOVENIA
SPAIN
SWEDEN
SWITZERLAND
TURKEY
HUNGARY

Once the national validation procedure has been completed, European patents grant to the holder the same rights that would arise from a national patent obtained in the different States.
Validation involves the translation, where required, into the local language and the payment of annual fees to the respective National Offices.

The procedure to obtain a European patent involves the following steps:

1. Filing of the application

  • Examination of the formal requirements to apply for a patent
  • Prior art search and examination of the prior art documents found.
  • Publication, 18 months from the filing of a prior application.

2. Substantive examination of the application

  • Examination of the requirements for patentability (novelty, inventive step)
  • Grant of the patent or rejection of the application.

If the patent is granted, the applicant may start the validation procedure in all of the designated States.

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED

  • POWER OF ATTORNEY (AUTHORISATION)
    Signed without legalization by the applicant if a natural person, or, in the case of a company, by the legal representative.
    The signatory’s address and position within the company must be indicated.
  • SPECIFICATION (English, French or German)
    A description that would enable a person skilled in the art to carry out the invention.
  • DRAWINGS
    According to the EPC (European Patent Convention) Rules.
  • DESIGNATION OF THE INVENTOR
    Compulsory within 16 months of the filing date.
  • PRIORITY DOCUMENT
    If priority is claimed, a certified copy of the prior application must be filed within 16 months.

OPPOSITION

Third parties may file an opposition within 9 months of the mention of the grant of the European patent.
The Opposition Division may hear the parties in a sort of cross-examination and finally maintain, modify or revoke the patent granted.
The term of a European patent is twenty years from the date of filing of the European patent application.

PCT PATENT APPLICATION

The PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) international patent is the result of the Cooperation Treaty signed in Washington in 1970 by a large number of Countries (currently 142 as at September 2009).

The treaty has made it possible to make a single filing instead of multiple filings in the different countries and has promoted the harmonization of laws in the contracting states.

International patent applications may be filed with the International Office of the WIPO in Geneva or with the National Patents Office of the State of which the applicant is a national or where he has elected domicile.

The procedure to obtain a PCT patent requires the applicant to file an international application, which includes a request, a description, one or more claims, one or more drawings (where required) and an abstract.
Subsequently, each international application undergoes an international search to establish the relevant prior art; when the search is completed, the International office publishes the applications.

At this stage, the applicant can decide whether to abandon the application, proceed in single countries, or in groups of countries.

After this, the patent application and the search report are sent to each Patent Office of the countries designated by the applicant within 30 months of the priority date; on the basis of its own legislation, each country will decide whether to grant the patent or not.

An international application has the same effect as a national application in the designated country.

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED

  • POWER OF ATTORNEY (AUTHORISATION)
    Signed without legalization by the applicant if a natural person, or, in the case of a company, by the legal representative.
    The signatory’s address and position within the company must be indicated. It must also bear the signature of the inventor.
  • DESCRIPTION (English, French or German)
    A description that would enable a person skilled in the art to reproduce the invention.
  • DRAWINGS
    According to the PCT Rules.
  • PRIORITY DOCUMENT
    If priority is claimed, a certified copy of the prior application must be filed within 16 months.