For an invention to be patentable, it must satisfy three basic requirements. It must be: (1) new (novelty); (2) result from inventive activity (inventive step); and (3) capable of industrial application.
- Novelty: Newness or novelty of a product is fundamental to patentability. The invention must not be previously known by others or previously available in the public domain. The invention claimed is set side by side with what is already known about the particular area of the invention. If the invention is one that is already known, then it is not new. If the invention had been published then it would fail the novelty test. Publication by oral disclosure or publication by document and prior use will invalidate novelty and render the product unpatentable.
- Inventive step: The invention must involve an inventive step i.e the invention must differ significantly from what is already known. It must not be obvious to a person skilled in the art. What is considered here is whether or not the invention is predictable from the state of the art.
- Industrial application: An invention is capable of industrial application if it can be manufactured or used in any kind of industry, including agriculture.
Moreover, where an invention constitutes an improvement on an existing patented invention, it is patentable provided it satisfies the three basic requirements discussed above.
Do you want to forfeit your right to a patent invention? I’m sure you don’t want to. Then, you must be careful not to disclose your invention to someone else as the person may pass on the information whether inadvertently or fraudulently.
A patent confers a lot of benefits to the owner. It gives the owner the right to stop others from copying, manufacturing, selling or importing the owner’s invention without his/her permission. If there is market demand for the patented product, the ability to exclude others reduces the supply of the product or process in the market giving the patent holder the opportunity to charge higher prices for the patented product or process thereby increasing the profit margin.
The patent owner may choose to let others use it under agreed terms. Where the patent holder grants licence to others to use the patent, he/she will be receiving regular royalty payments for sales of the patented product or process.
Also, the patent holder gets protection for 20 years, allowing him/her to keep competitors at bay. It also brings the right to take legal action against others who might be infringing the invention and to claim damages.
Have you invented any product or process? Have you applied for patent protection? What are you still waiting for? In Nigeria, a patent is granted to the person who, whether or not he is the true inventor, is the first to file or validly claim a foreign priority for a patent application in respect of the invention. An Intellectual Property Lawyer can help you file for patent protection.