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Archived updates for Friday, August 12, 2005

EPO Launches Microsite on Computer-Implemented Inventions

The European Patent Office has set up a "microsite" at to provide information about the law and practice under the European Patent Convention in the field of computer-implemented inventions proposed legislative reforms in Europe in this field. According to the site,

"In recent years, the patentability of computer-related inventions has been the
subject of intense debate throughout Europe. According to some, granting patents
for computer-implemented inventions stimulates innovation because the financial
and material investment that is needed to develop sophisticated and specialised
software is protected. Others, however, believe that such patents stifle
competition and act as a brake on innovation."
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Blogger David Skul said...

Inventing Something get a Patent

There is one kind of home business that is very different than any other: that of the inventor. If you’ve invented something, the chances are that you don’t have the resources to mass-produce the product yourself. You will need to send the plans and designs off to someone else to make in their factory. When you do this, though, how can you protect you idea against theft by them, or any one else who might see it? The answer is patent registration, which will give you the exclusive right to profit from it.

A patent gives you the exclusive right to profit from an invention for a set number of years. If anyone else tries to sell something that is covered by your patent, you’ll have the legal right to make them either pay you a license fee or stop. Each patent has a number. (You’ve probably seen this on any number of products. Patent pending means that a patent has been applied for but not yet granted.) Your invention must qualify before you get a patent. Not all inventions can be covered by patents. Check that your invention meets the following criteria.

Is it new and secret? You can’t have showed your invention publicly before you apply for a patent. Whatever you do, don’t take your invention around and demonstrate it before you think about patents. Is it non-obvious? Your invention must not be something that would be obvious to experience in your chosen industry. You cannot apply for a patent for a scientific or mathematical theory, or method; a work of art (books, plays, etc.-computer programs are included), a way of doing things or business method. Many of these are, instead covered by copyright. Patents are intended for actual physical inventions.

You need to apply at the agency called a patent office in your country. There are also patent agencies for larger areas, such as the European Patent Office or ultimately the World Intellectual Property Organization. It’s best to get a lawyer to guide you through this and make them sign a non-disclosure agreement. Depending on your country, applying for a patent can either be absurdly cheap or really expensive. You should note that if your patent application is refused at any stage, you won’t be getting your fees back. You can usually apply again, if you want to pay again.

If you have looked at the prices, you might be wondering: what’s the worst thing that could possible happen to me if I didn’t get a patent? The only answer to this is that anyone, to whom you happen to explain your idea or product, can steal it, and you won’t be able to do a thing about it. What’s more, once your invention does come on the market, success will attract many imitators. They’ll probably be able to produce your invention cheaper by sacrificing quality. A patent gives you protection in the marketplace for your home business against competitors.

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December 14, 2005 2:49 PM  

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