When you desire patents for inventions it is understood that one needs to undergo several stages before finally acquiring the much-coveted patent. The law recognizes five “rights” periods in the life of patents for inventions. These five periods one undergoes in acquiring patents for inventions are:
1. Invention conceived but not yet documented. This is the phase in applying patents for inventions when an inventor conceives an invention but has not yet made any written, signed, dated, and witnessed record of it.
2. Invention documented but the patent application not yet filed. After making a proper, signed, dated, and witnessed documentation of in applying patents for inventions the inventor has valuable rights against any inventor who later conceives the same invention and applies for a patent. This phase enables the inventor the legal right to sue and recover damages against anyone who immorally learns of the invention (for example, through industrial spying).
3. Patent pending (patent application filed but not yet issued). During the patents for inventions pending period, including the one-year period after a provisional patent application is filed the inventor can sue and recover damages against anyone who uses the invention.
4. In-force patent (patent issued but hasn’t yet expired). After the patent issues, the owner of the patents for inventions can bring and maintain a lawsuit for patent infringement against anyone who makes, uses, or sells the invention without permission.
5. Patent expired. After the patent expires, the owner of patents for inventions has no further rights. An expired patent remains a valid “prior-art reference” forever.
The process of drafting and filing patents for inventions application is known as ‘patent prosecution’. Although you can prosecute patents for inventions without an attorney, it’s a good idea to retain an experienced patent attorney to obtain a patent. The attorney should draft patent claims that describe the patent in terms that are as broad as possible. But if the claims are too broad, the patent office will most likely reject the application on the grounds that the invention does not meet one or more of the statutory requirements (like a novelty, non-obviousness).
Although each country has its own patent laws, if you are seeking international patents for inventions protection you should also be aware of the Paris Convention and the Patent Co-operation Treaty. Approximately 110 countries adhere to the Paris Convention, under which if you file for patents for invention in one member nation, you will receive the benefit of that date of filing in all member nations.
You may also file an application for patents for inventions under the Patent Co-operation Treaty, adhered to by approximately 88 nations, effectively allowing you to wait up to 20 months before filing in any other member nation.
You can also file an application for patents for inventions with the EPO (European Patent Office), which can lead to patent coverage in all European countries that belong to the European Patent Convention.