A patent protects technical inventions – provided they are new and have not yet been made public.
A patent makes it possible to protect technical inventions, notably products (movements, functional textiles, chemical substances, etc.) and processes (food drying processes, cleaning processes, etc.).
Prohibition on commercial use
The holder of a patent may prohibit any third party from making commercial use of their invention (they may, for example, have the manufacture and sale of protected products prohibited), for a maximum of 20 years in countries where the invention has been protected. In return, the invention must be made public in the patent.
Conditions to be met
Registration of a patent must meet the following conditions:
- Among other things, the invention must be new and not stem obviously from the state of the art.
- To satisfy the criterion of novelty, the invention should not in any way have been presented to the public anywhere in the world before the filing of the patent registration application. Anyone wanting to have their invention patented is therefore recommended to maintain confidentiality about that invention until the application is filed.
There are alternatives to patents:
- When an invention is not recognizable from the end product, it is possible to maintain manufacturing secrecy.
- If you do not want to protect your invention but would still like to prevent any third parties from patenting it, you have the option of publishing it, for example, on publication platforms. It would thus lose its novelty, and may no longer be patented.
You are advised to consult a patent advisor to choose the protection strategy and formulate the patent.