Patents are granted for inventions in the field of technology which are new, inventive and industrially applicable. A patent gives its owner the exclusive right to exploit the invention.

A patent owner can prevent others from producing, keeping for sale, marketing, using or importing the patented subject. The lifetime of a patent is generally 20 years from the filing date, after which the invention is considered as free state of the art. Patent applications are not kept secret but are published 18 months after the initial filing date, same as issued patents after grant. Thus,/In this way the public is informed about the inventions and may challenge wrongly issued patents by means of appeal or annulment actions.

Requirement for a patent is the filing of a patent application with a patent office which examines the preconditions of patentability – in particular novelty and inventive step – upon request. Therefore, a patent application has to be filed before the invention is disclosed tot he public in whatever form – such a disclosure destroys novelty and the possibility of getting a patent!

A patent is a territorial property right and therefore is only valid in/applies only to the country in which/where it was issued. However, the protection can be extended to other countries by means of regional or international filing procedures within a year from the initial filing date.