Inventions, utility models, SPC

Inventions

An invention is a technical solution for which a patent may be granted if such a solution demonstrates so-called patentability, i.e. if it meets the criteria of novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability.

Patents, belonging to the group of “exclusive rights”, are limited term- and territory-wise. Patents are granted by Patent Offices under various protection systems:

National patents

National patents are granted by national Patent Offices, including the Patent Office of the Republic of Poland (the PPO). They ensure protection in the territory of a given country and usually are valid up to 20 years. In the majority of countries patent applications are subject to substantive examination of patentability, and the applicants may be summoned to provide additional clarifications or amendments to descriptions of their inventions.

Patents for international patent applications

Under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) so-called international patent applications may be filed, allowing to apply for patents in more than 150 countries simultaneously. In the international phase the application is subject to a preliminary examination of patentability and then, at the request of the applicant, to a full examination. The results of these examinations allow the applicant to decide whether it is reasonable to continue applying for a patent, and also whether the practicing of the claimed invention would entail a risk. The applicant may decide to discontinue any further prosecution, or to continue applying for protection of the invention by entering the so-called national phases in countries of his choice. In the national phase the national Patent Offices examine patentability of the invention and, if the outcome of examination is positive, issue a decision to grant a patent. Generally, the international procedure gives the applicant more time for making business decisions than the national procedure involving the direct filing in individual countries.

European patents

A European patent application, examined as to patentability of the claimed invention by the European Patent Office, is aimed at the grant of a European Patent, which, provided that a so-called validation procedure is completed, may be valid in 38 countries belonging to the European Patent Organization, as well as in Bosnia/Herzegovina and in Montenegro.

We provide our Clients with comprehensive advice and consultations helpful in obtaining patents, and we offer services of:

  • prior art searches for a given solution,
  • developing a strategy for protection,
  • preparing the description and patent claims of the application, as well as relevant documentation,
  • prosecuting the case before the Polish Patent Office,
  • supervising deadlines for the extension of protection.

In the case of national applications in other countries, we provide well-proven professional assistance of foreign patent attorney offices.

Should it be necessary to file a patent application in a foreign language, we offer professional technical translations.

Utility models

A utility model is a new and industrially applicable technical solution concerning an object having a durable form or a set of parts having a durable form. A protection right, limited term- and territory-wise, may be granted for such a solution.

From the above definition it follows that in Poland only “mechanical solutions” with a durable form may be considered utility models, whereas methods, procedures, electronic circuits, chemical compounds, pharmaceuticals etc. cannot be protected under that category.

Protection rights for utility models are granted by national Patent Offices, including the Polish Patent Office. These rights are granted for a maximum of 10 years.

We provide our Clients with comprehensive advice and consultations helpful in obtaining protection rights, and we offer services of:

  • prior art searches for a given solution,
  • developing a strategy for protection,
  • preparing descriptions and claims of utility model applications, as well as relevant documentation,
  • prosecuting the case before the Patent Office, and
  • supervising deadlines for the extension of protection.

In the case of national utility model applications in other countries we provide well-proven professional assistance of foreign patent attorney offices.

SPC

The Supplementary Protection Certificate (SPC) for medicinal and plant protection products is an exclusive right that extends the protection conferred by a basic patent with regard to specific products protected by said patent.

An SPC can extend the protection for a pharmaceutical or plant protection product by up to five years. In addition, in the case of paediatric medicinal products the supplementary protection certificate may provide extension for additional 6 months.

The possibility of extending the protection is a compensation for companies having a shortened period of market exclusivity due to the need to conduct many-year research and to complete the procedures for getting marketing authorizations.

We have extensive experience in obtaining supplementary protection and provide our Clients with comprehensive advice and assistance in this respect.

Our patent team members Małgorzata Kaczmarczyk and Grażyna Wójcik have written a chapter on formal requirements and practice in Poland for the second edition of “European SPCs Unravelled: A Practitioner’s Guide to Supplementary Protection Certificates in Europe”, published by Wolters Kluwer.

Integrated circuit topographies

An integrated circuit topography is a solution consisting in a spatial, freely expressed arrangement of elements and all or part of the connections of an integrated circuit, where at least one element is an active element. Thus, it is a three-dimensional structure of microelectronic semiconductor products presented in the form of a series of interrelated images, freely recorded or encoded.

An integrated circuit topography may be registered under the national procedure at the Polish Patent Office. It is also possible to obtain protection for such a solution in selected foreign countries.

We provide our Clients with comprehensive advice and consultations helpful in obtaining the registration of an integrated circuit topography, and offer services of preparing documentation of the application and prosecuting the case before the Patent Office till the grant of the exclusive right.

New plant varieties

A breeder's exclusive right to a plant variety may be obtained for a variety if it is distinct, homogenous, stable and new and its denomination meets the relevant formal requirements.

At national level, the exclusive breeder's right to a variety is granted by the Director of the Research Centre for Cultivar Testing (Centralny Ośrodek Badania Odmian Roślin Uprawnych, COBORU). The territorial scope of such a right corresponds to the territory of Poland.

It is also possible to obtain an exclusive plant variety right at EU level, namely a Community plant variety right (CPVR) granted by the Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO) located in Angers, France. The territorial scope of such a right covers the entire European Union and it takes precedence over national rights.

The exclusive plant variety right gives the authorised breeder a certain degree of exclusivity for the commercial exploitation of the seed of the protected variety (production and propagation, sale, export or storage) and lasts 30 years (for vine, tree and potato varieties) or 25 years (for varieties of other genera).

We comprehensively support our Clients in obtaining and maintaining exclusive rights to plant varieties.

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