A little more information on Patent
Today I had an internal training about Patent. This was a quite useful information, I think, as it gave me a lot of insight on how the patent actually works to ignite the act of invention. Moreover, this legal right gives companies or creative individuals a chance to work peacefully to create another invention, as their patents are protected, against illegal copy, by the state.
Actually, beside patent, there are several other intellectual property protections that cover different point of a product. They are copyright, trademark, registered design, and trade secret.
A government authority to an individual or organization conferring a right or title, esp. the sole right to make, use, or sell some invention
The exclusive legal right, given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material, and to authorize others to do the same.
A symbol, word, or words legally registered or established by use as representing a company or product.
Based on The Designs Act of 2003. It was introduced to protect the visual look of a product, on sale.
A trade secret is a formula, practice, process, design, instrument, pattern, or compilation of information which is not generally known or reasonably ascertainable, by which a business can obtain an economic advantage over competitors or customers.
Supposed that we take an example of a product, Nokia N95.
Here, the Patent could be the Data Processing Algorithm that are used inside the phone.
The software code, Instruction manual, and Nokia tune ringtone could be the Copyright.
The name of N95, brand Nokia and software name Symbian are the Trademarks.
Registered design of the product could be the form of overall phone body, and the shape of external button.
There could be some Trade secrets within the product that Nokia decides not to publish it.
The existence of patent law is basically to encourage technology innovation. Suppose that we create something new, then we duplicate the things to reach the market. But if other parties can easily copy everything that we made with efforts, this will discourage us to create another innovation in the future. It also promotes healthy competition through a race to make better product by doing innovation. Companies will try harder to invent a new way to realize the best product they could make. In the end, customers will benefit from this kind of competition. Finally, as consequently patent disseminate the information among companies, it will encourage them to promote technology transfer and do collaboration to deliver product.
By holding a patent, a party can prevent others to copy the solution that he made (valid for 20 years). But, this is only valid in the country where the patent is granted. There is no way to hold a worldwide patent, except you register it individually to each countries. Patent holder is also right to sell the idea to other parties by offering licensing contract.
What does a patent look like?
-. Bibliographic Information: date of patent application, information about author, title of patented item, classification number.
-. Abstract: a 150 word explanation about the idea.
Summary of prior Art
Problem that it solves
Explanation about solution
-. Claims: define the scope of patent application
-. Drawings: illustration of claims and protections
In Europe Patent Office, it needs 4-5 years of patent application process to get a grant of patent for individual or companies. There are several steps before we can hold a right to a patent. First one is Patent Application Submission. We prepare a document like the one that explained before to express our soon-to-be patented idea. Then, the committee will conduct a patent search on their database. As the number of patents are so many, they will need 18 months until a search report is produced. Here they will decide whether our application has already been submitted by others party or accepted. If they don’t find similar existing patent, our application will be proceeded to review for another 4 years. Overall, we need to prepare money around 35000 Euro to register patent to the European Patent Office (EPO). It’s quite a big money to invest 🙂
Finally, there are many ways to use and maximize the investment that ones put in a patent, which are:
- Licensing / Cross licensing the patent to other parties that might need it.
ex. RSA sells their cryptographic algorithm to parties that want to secure their application
- Building Reputation, Companies is valued by the number of patents that they own.
A good example is like lately Google bought Motorolla only to acquire their patent collections (http://www.forbes.com/sites/quentinhardy/2011/08/15/google-buys-motorola-for-patent-parts/).
- Blocking competitors to enter market.
Apple never sell their patent to other parties. Instead, they only don’t want competitors to enter their market. Like the case in Germany, where Apple sued Samsung for patent infringement against their tablet product, Galaxy Tab, that resembles iPad (http://www.thelocal.de/sci-tech/20110909-37491.html).
So, are you ready to protect your right? 🙂
In the world full of geniuses, the slithery wins...