A patent is an intellectual house right that provides the holder, not an operating appropriate, but a proper to prohibit the use by a third party of the patented invention, from a particular date and for a limited duration (usually 20 many years).

Some nations may at inventors and inventions the time of registration issue a "provisional patent" and may possibly grant a "grace period" of a single year which avoids the invalidity of the patent to an inventor who disclosed his invention just before filing a patent in a non-confidential basis with the benefit of permitting speedy dissemination of technical data although reserving the industrial exploitation of the invention. Depending on the nation, the very first "inventor" or the very first "filer" has priority to the patent.

The patent is valid only in a given territory. Thus, the patent stays nationwide. It is achievable to file how to patent an invention a patent application for a particular nation (INPI for France, the USPTO for the U.S., JPO for Japan), or a group of nations (with the EPO for 38 European nations, filing a PCT application for the 142 signatories of the Treaty). Therefore, a patent application could cover a number of countries.

In return, the invention must be disclosed to the public. In practice, patents are automatically published 18 months right after the priority date, that is to say, after the very first filing, except in unique cases.

To be patentable, aside from the reality that it need to be an "invention", an invention must also meet three essential criteria.

1. It need to be new, that is to say that absolutely nothing comparable has ever been accessible to the public knowledge, by any implies whatsoever (written, oral, use. ), and anywhere. It also must not match the material of a patent that was filed but not yet published.

2. It must have inventive phase, that is to say, it cannot be evident from the prior art.

3. It should have industrial application, that is to say, it can be used or produced in any type of market, like agriculture (excluding works of artwork or crafts, for example).

When a organization believes that its competitors are unlikely to discover one of its tricks for the duration of the period of coverage of any patent, or that the firm would not be able to detect infringement or enforce its rights, it can pick not to file, which carries a risk and a benefit.

The danger: If a competitor finds the very same process and obtains a patent on it, the firm could be prohibited to use his own invention ( the French law and American law vary on this point, one considering the evidence at the date of discovery, and the other at the date of publication). French law also includes a so-known as exception of "prior private possession" for a person who can show that the alleged invention was indeed infringed previously in its possession prior to the filing date of the patent application. In such case, operation would only be capable to carry on for that individual on the French territory.

The advantage: If there patents is no patent, the approach is not published and therefore the organization can anticipate to continue operation in theory indefinitely (Nevertheless in practice, someone will possibly locate the notion 1 day, but the duration of safety might end up longer in total). This technique of trade secret and consequently non- patenting is employed in some cases by the chemical sector.