Do I Need to Have an Invention Ready Before Filing for Multiple Patents?

Do you need to have a fully-developed invention before filing for patent protection? The answer is no. Many valuable inventions are protected by patents even before the first functional prototype is built. You can't patent an idea for an invention, but you can file a patent application containing the invention in the United States. The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) allows inventors to file an international patent application in one language at a patent office to simultaneously apply for the protection of an invention in up to 117 countries.

Novelty and absence of obviousness are determined by searching for other patents, patent applications or publications related to the invention, collectively referred to as patented art. To maximize your chances of obtaining patent protection, it is important to elaborate patent applications around the non-obvious practical use of a gene or protein, or its modified form, instead of trying to patent the gene or protein itself as a composition of matter. It is essential to understand the difference between ideas and inventions when it comes to patents. WIPO Patent Information Services (WPIS) offers free patent search services to individuals and institutions in developing countries.

Other countries use the first-to-file rule, which grants a patent and all rights to the first person who files a patent application for an invention. The material included in the patent application is often referred to as “teaching”, because an important requirement of the patent is that it “teaches other people how to carry out the invention”.The claim for a patent cannot go much further than what is reduced to practice according to the data and examples contained in the patent. In the 1990s, the creation of the World Trade Organization established a common minimum set of rights that governments should grant to all patent holders, as well as a period of 20 years (starting from the date of submission of the application) as a period of validity of the patent. One of the main patent rights is the right to prevent another person from obtaining a patent for the same invention.

The owner of a patent has the right to decide who can or cannot use the patented invention during the period in which it is protected. A patent license agreement consists of the licensor's promise not to sue the licensee for patent infringement. If you want to obtain patent protection in several countries around the world, you can file an international application under the PCT, administered by WIPO. However, it is ultimately up to the patent owner to monitor, identify, and take action against any potential infringers.

Forrest Kemmerer
Forrest Kemmerer

Hipster-friendly internet trailblazer. Music specialist. Incurable bacon buff. Lifelong social media lover. Certified coffee junkie. Hardcore explorer.

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