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F / D

conditions for obtaining a patent

Inventions that are new, involve an inventive activity and that are capable of industrial applicability can be protected for a maximal duration of 20 years by means of patents.

The invention can for example consist of a new product, a method, a manufacturing process etc. The criteria of novelty is absolute; any public disclosure of the invention, even orally and made by the inventor, prevents it from being subsequently patented. It is thus essential that the invention should remain absolutely confidential until the patent application has been filed and that it should not be disclosed to anyone except under written Confidentiality Agreement.

The invention should not be commonplace and should not be obtainable by an obvious thought process. However, the inventive activity required for securing a patent is limited; great inventions are rare, and technological progress is usually a matter of small successive steps. When such an advancement, even a relatively simple one, brings a competitive advantage to its initiator, the company should consider the possibility of monopolizing it by a patent or any other appropriate type of protection.

The industrial applicability can be realized in any type of industry, including agriculture. However, methods of surgical treatment, of therapy and of medical diagnostics are not judged to be applicable industrially and are thus excluded from patent protection. Discoveries, scientific theories, aesthetic creations, game rules, economic activities, the presentation of information etc. are generally not considered to be inventions.

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