is the result of human creativity in any field of technology.
Invention protects following objects:
product (device, substance, microorganism strains, cell culture), process (method), application of a known technical solution for a new purpose.
Criteria of patentability for the invention: novelty, inventive step, and industrial applicability
of the claimed technical solution. Inventive step criterion is met if a technical result achieved by adding new features to the previously known technical solution is not obvious for a specialist.
The object of protection under utility model
patent in most countries with some exceptions can be a product only.
Criteria of patentability for the utility model: novelty and industrial applicability
of the claimed technical solution. In some countries however, an inventive step
is also checked.
For the list of countries where protection for utility models can be obtained click here.
Invention/utility model registration
is necessary to obtain the state-guaranteed privileges to use, including the enforcement of the right to prohibit the use of such intellectual property asset by third parties.
and/or legal entities
may be the holders
of the property rights for invention/utility model. Property rights for invention/utility model may simultaneously belong to several legal entities and/or individuals. However, non-property rights remain with the author
of invention/utility model, it can’t be alienated and is subject to permanent protection.
The title of protection
for registration of the invention
is usually a patent
. When registering a utility model
in some countries certificate
covered by the protection of the registered invention/utility model is always indicated in the title of protection. It may include one or several countries.
Invention is valid
during 20-25 years, while for utility model validity term is 10-15 years depending on the country (if relevant official fees are paid periodically).
Important to remember
: it’s better to invest into protection of your original invention/utility model before
goods are introduced into the market than to spend significantly more in future to protect your products from unfair competitors and intellectual property dealers.
The European Patent Office (EPO)
, headquartered in Munich (Germany) and The Hague (Netherlands), grants only patents for inventions
. Patents are granted on the basis of substantive examination (examination system
). This means that (EPO) examines the application for compliance with the formal and absolute criteria of patentability.
A patent can be obtained directly by filing an application to EPO
or by transferring the PCT application
to the regional phase.
The package of documents required for filing an application includes the description and claims of invention, which are usually formed by a patent attorney.
The maximum validity term
of a patent is 20 years
. Patent maintenance fees are paid annually in each of the countries in which it is valid.
A European patent, under certain provisions, is valid
on the territory of 38 contracting parties of EPC and in some other countries with which EPO has bilateral agreements
, and has the same status as national patents. More information about the procedure for obtaining a European patent can be found here.
The Bureau’s office in Sofia files applications to the EPO directly and controls all stages of prosecution under European procedure.