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Registering a patent

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ESA / About Us / Law at ESA / Intellectual Property Rights

Patents should be registered with the patent office where protection is sought: national, regional (EPO) or international (PCT). This entails completing an application form and attaching a full description of the invention.

This should describe the invention clearly and precisely so that it provides new technical information to third parties and can be understood by a person with a general knowledge of the subject described.

If filing an application in a country which is not that of the inventor then an address in that country must be given or that of someone holding power of attorney for the applicant. Other formalities are often required such as the payment of a fee or authentication by a public notary. Finally, the applicant must indicate the scope of protection requested so that those wanting to use the invention know what they may or may not do.

The relevant authority then examines the application. Although the system followed can differ from one country to another in general the Patent Office verifies that the invention falls within the scope of patentable subject matter, and that it is new, not obvious and has an industrial application, etc. If the Patent Office refuses to grant a patent the applicant should be given the right to make observations and then appeal.

Once all the formalities are completed, a certificate is issued to the owner which states that the owner’s exclusive rights exist from the date of registration.

It is important that the owner of the patent and third parties are able to obtain up-to-date information. Therefore, once the registration becomes valid important data regarding the owner and the patent should be published in an official gazette.

The patent is protected in the State or States where it was registered and granted.

Filing for patent application

  • identification of the inventor
  • clear and full description of the invention
  • precise indication of the claim

Examination of application by the administrative authority

  • national and international screening
  • examination of basic and formal requirements by the Patent Office

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