Filing a patent application
Applying for a patent is usually not a goal in and of itself. Your company has made an invention which would give it an edge over the competition, now the question remains how to maintain that competitive edge.
Purpose of the patent application
The first question we ask any new client is: ‘What would you like to prohibit your competitors from doing’? Their answer then gives us a pretty good idea of what to focus on in the patent application.
Contents of a patent application
We’re here to help you determine the most distinctive new feature of your invention and – based on your instructions – perform a patentability search. This is designed to identify patents and published patent applications that are relevant prior art to your invention.
Once we have clearly defined the scope for patent protection, we can word the patent application in such a way that it does not cover these areas.
There are all kinds of factors to consider when drafting a patent application. Specific wording can speed up and simplify the patent procurement process, after which the patent can be enforced if necessary and infringers can be successfully barred from the market. In other cases, it’s advantageous to deliberately keep the wording as general as possible and defer as many decisions as you can. While this inevitably delays the procurement process, it also buys you time, since while the patent is pending your competitors are unsure as to where they stand from a legal standpoint. This lack of clarity in the market can work in the patent applicant’s favour.
(Inter)national patent protection
Together we will determine in which countries patent protection is of most importance, and what the most effective way to obtain protection in these markets is. Is the Netherlands the main market where you intend to apply for patent protection, or would you like to extend the protection internationally? And in the latter case, in what order? In some cases, a strategy designed to have patents in the relevant countries granted as soon as possible is the best option, while in other cases it may be advisable to defer a choice of countries as long as possible. You might also be motivated by a desire to defer costs or keep overall expenses in check.
In any case, we will work with you to decide on the best strategy for your particular patent needs.
If it has already been established that there are competitors who are entering (or intend to enter) the market, it may be advisable to ensure that pending applications are granted as soon as possible. In some cases, we may be able to request that the patent offices fast-track your application. Sometimes there are options to base examination on parallel patent applications in different countries so as to speed up the process. When enforcing patents, it generally works in your favour if the patent has already been granted.
Patent application process
No matter the case may be, we will always keep you updated on the latest developments and involve you in any decisions we make.
We will walk you through the various stages of the process in advance and send you regular updates informing you how far along we are at a given time. We will also keep you in the loop as to how long it takes to complete these various stages and advise you of the expenses involved in each stage, and when you can expect to receive the invoice for these services.
If there is a delay in the patent-granting processes, we will contact the examiners of the patent offices to see if we can work things out through an informal interview or during a formal hearing.
Fortunately, in most cases we succeed!