To obtain a patent grant, there are three possible ways:
- National patent;
- Regional patent;
- International Patent;
The procedure to grant a patent is sending the application to each national patent office we desire protect our invention.
After sending application the office will start a research about the state of art in that area and the applicant will receive within nine months a result, in this way he will be able to evaluate if proceed or not. According to Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, signed in Paris on 20 March 1883, 12 months from the patent application is the period to extend the procedure to other countries. After this time range it will not be possible apply to other countries. After eighteen months all documents will be made public, in this way anyone will be able to communicate and prove to patent office that the invention is not new but already exist in the state of the art.
The period to obtain a patent granted it is an average between 3 and 6 years.
Costs change country by country. In Slovakia, it is necessary pay 57 € at the moment of application and other 117 € , in a period of 46 months, for the official research of state of art.
The national patent is a good choice if the target is protect the invention just in few countries because 12 months, the period of time established by the Paris Convention, is very short. In this time frame all documents should be translate into official language of each nation and the applicant should handle many paperwork.
The most famous regional patent is the European region with 48 countries inside and outside the European Union. The application will be submitted to EPO (European Patent Organization) in Munich, Germany. In this case patent application may be sent in English, French or German. After eighteen months all documents will be made public and into 3-4 years the patent will be granted. After this the applicant will be able to choose in which between 48 countries of the European region protecting the invention sending all documents to each national office in the right national language.
The cost for the patent application is 3,000 € plus 10 € for each country where the applicant wants to extend the patent.
It is possible to obtain an international patent through Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), signed in Washington on 19 June 1970. The procedure is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), in Geneva, to provide a unified procedure for filing patent applications to protect inventions in each of its contracting states.
15-16 months after filing patent application it will be possible to receive the result of research of state of the art and a written opinion about application and chance of success. After eighteen months all documents will be made public with the written opinion and the possible response of applicant.
After 30 to 31 months the applicant will not have a granted patent, but a preliminary examination of patent ability by international authorities specifically designated. To obtain a granted patent it is necessary continue the patenting procedure through the various national patent offices, or regional patent offices (such as EPO).
The costs of international patent application is 3,000 € plus costs for each patent office after the next 30-31 months.
It is also possible to combine these three possibilities…
Starting from a national patent and before twelve months applying for an European patent. Once the European patent is granted the applicant will require extension between the 48 countries of EPO.
Usually the large companies present a PCT application and then extend the application to a Regional patent as EPO and / or national offices.
An other possibility is to start with a national patent and before twelve months applying for a PCT patent. When the applicant will receive the preliminary result he will apply for a Regional patent and / or national level.