1. Wat is een octrooi?
Een octrooi is een uitsluitend recht, dat wil zeggen een recht het anderen te verbieden om een uitvinding te vervaardigen of toe te passen, te gebruiken, te verkopen, te verhuren, te verhandelen, in te voeren, aan te bieden of in voorraad te houden, binnen het grondgebied waar het octrooi geldig is. Een octrooi kan betrekking hebben op een product, een inrichting, een nieuwe toepassing van een bekend product, een werkwijze of een combinatie hiervan.
2. What is a patent application?
A patent application is an official request for grant of a patent filed in accordance with specific formal requirements at a patent-granting authority.
3. What does “patent pending” mean?
“Patent pending” means that patent has been applied for but not yet granted.
4. What reasons are there for applying for a patent?
Holding a patent is the best way to reap the benefits of your efforts to commercialize and develop your invention. Competitors can be denied access to the market for the products or method falling within the exclusive right in the countries where the patent is valid. It is also possible to grant licences to third parties on the basis of a patent right.
5. Where is a patent valid?
A patent is valid only in the countries where the patent in question has been granted. This means that in countries where the patent is not valid free use can be made of a technology that has been patented elsewhere. It is worth noting here that import of patented products or methods from a country in which the patent is not valid to a country where the patent is valid is not permitted.
6. For how long is a patent valid?
In most western countries a patent can remain valid for up to 20 years after filing of the patent application. There is also a possibility of extending the term of protection for pharmaceutical products and plant protection products by a maximum of five years by means of a Supplementary Protection Certificate (SPC). Such a certificate is intended to compensate the developers of medicines who are often involved in lengthy development processes and make large investments and who sometimes only receive approval from the authorities to market their product in the final years of the duration of the patent.
7. Who grants patents?
National governments grant patent rights via patent-granting bodies. The patent-granting authority in the Netherlands is the Netherlands Patent Office, part of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO). Supranational organizations, such as the European Patent Office, also exist which are authorized to grant patents simultaneously for a number of countries in a region.
8. How is a patent obtained?
In order to obtain a patent it is necessary to file a patent application with the patent-granting authority in the country in which you wish to obtain a patent. This application must comply with specific formal requirements. Following a formal and, in some countries, also a substantive examination, patent will then be granted in positively assessed cases.
9. Can an individual apply for patent?
Yes, in most countries residents or companies registered there can themselves apply for patent. This is possible in the Netherlands via the website www.octrooicentrum.nl
Outside the country in which you are resident or where your company is registered a representative is generally required, usually a patent attorney.
10. Who can assist me in obtaining and enforcing patent rights?
A patent attorney can be assist you in obtaining and enforcing patent rights. Patentwerk has a number of patent attorneys with different technical expertise.
11. What is a patent attorney?
A patent attorney is a specialist in the field of acquiring and maintaining patent rights. In the Netherlands a patent attorney, after obtaining a technical or scientific university degree, must take a number of specialist examinations and have at least three years experience. When being sworn in an attorney also has to make a solemn affirmation to treat in confidence the cases in which he/she is involved in the course of his/her professional duties. Most Dutch patent attorneys are also European patent attorneys. Qualifications also have to be obtained for registration as European patent attorney.
12. How do I know whether I am dealing with a qualified patent attorney?
It is often not clear whether individuals claiming to be a “patent adviser” or “patent expert” are competent or not. They are not certified by the authorities and have not passed any examinations showing that they have sufficient knowledge of patent law to be able to advise you properly.
All Dutch patent attorneys are a member of this Institute which maintains a register of patent attorneys. If a person is not in this register, you can assume that the person is not a Dutch patent attorney. If on the other hand a person is registered, you can then assume that this person is expert and professional.
13. Would it be sensible to apply for patent myself where possible?
For a good-quality patent application it is advisable to engage a patent attorney to draw up the application. The patent application must after all specify the desired exclusive right to an invention as well and as broadly as possible in accordance with the applicable legal criteria. If the application does not specify the invention correctly or completely, the finally obtained right will also be (unnecessarily) limited, or a competitor will be easily able to circumvent the patent.