For being patentable, an invention has to be new and inventive, meaning that it must not be an obvious modification of the state of the art existing at the filing date. Prior to filing a patent application, it is often advantageous to conduct a database search together with an evaluation of patentability to check whether the above-described criteria are met.
Generally, a patent application will be prepared in close cooperation with the inventor and/or the applicant.
Typically, a single application will be filed, which may then serve as basis for subsequent filings. This first application is often called the priority application and provides the applicant with a priority right for as long as 12 months during which subsequent patent applications may be filed in other countries.
Filing a priority application furthermore implies that publication or practicing of an invention can take place without precluding its patentability in any country that is member of the Paris Convention.
As mentioned above, the priority right expires 12 months after filing the first application. If protection is sought in other countries, corresponding patent applications must be filed in the desired countries within one year. After expiration of the 12-month limit, it is not possible to apply for a patent in other countries. In this case, potential competitors may freely carry out the invention in these countries.
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