Avoid a Poorly Drafted Patent Application

Anyone who is considering a patent application would do well to first inspect the market they are in, and check out any patents, both nationally and internationally, that are for designs similar to that being considered for registration.

Any commercial enterprise with a patent will naturally be on the lookout for fresh applications that may be made, which could have a negative effect on their business. By spotting relevant applications at the publication stage, they will then have the opportunity to challenge a new application that might infringe their existing patent, or at the very least have the potential to upset their current sales. This information is generally published in official journals.

Patents are still dealt with at a national level, and each country has historically had its own set of rules. So, depending on the country providing jurisdiction over the patent application, it may be possible to lodge an objection at the early, application stage – arguing that the patent should not be granted. This set-up does, however, have a downside for the applicant; whilst they are spending time defending any formal opposition to the application, their advance or discovery could be being taken advantage of by others as it is temporarily unprotected.

Any objections or applications have to be entered promptly. In a situation where there are two related patents, delay could lead to an accusation that the opposer has effectively ruled themselves out, and accepted that the new application is, in effect, valid as explained in post.

Some countries do not have a facility for entering an objection at the early stage, and for anyone connected with a patent, it is well worth taking advice from a specialist intellectual property lawyer, to ensure you are fully appraised of the situation in key markets that concern your development. In the USA, for example, it is not possible to object at the application stage, although it is permissible to request a re-examination by the relevant patent office; and this can bring fresh information to the notice of the officials checking out the application. As a result, a patent could be re-drafted, resulting in a more comprehensive wording and possibly giving breathing space to others with interests in similar products or procedures as you can see in article too.

In the UK, there are few objections as the process allows for a detailed investigation early on. In contrast, the market in Germany does’n not allow for any early searches for patents already existing, meaning that there tends to be more objections by parties with a vested interest; in practice, this is the only way for a rival to register their interest.

Patent law is complex and the price of getting it wrong can be disastrous. Make sure you take early intellectual property advice from specialist IP Lawyers.

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