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A patent is a type of industrial property that protects inventions. It compensates inventors for services they have given to the community through their inventions, and rewards them for their efforts, outlay, and contribution to the country’s economic development through the technological advances their inventions achieve.
If a firm has developed a new product or process, it should consider patenting it and viewing it as a strategic part of the business.
Any new invention that represents an inventive step and has an industrial application may be patented.
The concept of novelty is essential and any invention is considered a novelty if it does not form part of the state of the art; in other words, if, before the date of the patent application, it was not known or available to the public in Spain or in any other country through an oral or written description, through use, or in any other way.
An inventive step is considered to exist if the invention does not arise from the state of the art in a way that is obvious to a person skilled in the art.
Industrial application of an invention exists when the object of the invention can be manufactured or used in an industry.
A patent for an invention is granted for a non-extendable period of 20 years from the application date, but is effective from the date on which registration is made public. A patent remains in force as long as the annual fees are paid, and is protected in the entire national territory.
The European patent is a system that protects inventions in the European countries that are parties to the European Patent Convention, through a single application procedure. If a European patent is granted, it will result in national patents in all the countries designated in the application, with each patent being subject to the respective national legislation.
The international patent provides protection in each of the states that are parties to the international Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), through a single application procedure that replaces a country-by-country application and reduces costs.