In-depth knowledge of the patent filing process and any issues or trends around it is an invaluable source of information into how any particular company is protecting their technology or what their global footprint looks like.
If patents from other companies have lapsed or expired, there may be further reasons behind it and it can ensure your company has a better understanding of how to navigate through a certain technology or area.
|Before filing||Drafting your Patent Application||After initial searches to ascertain if your patent is patentable, with value potential, your Innovations team will request a patent agent to draft your patent application. The completed patent application will be submitted to your local national IPO (JPO, SIPO, UKIPO etc). The date the patent application is submitted establishes the priority date of the patent application, which means that the application will be assessed against all publicly available information published prior to this date. You will be able to include all relevant research and investigations about your invention in the patent application only up until the priority date. If you are unable to do this, you can ask for a withdrawal and at an additional cost, a new priority date can be set for you.|
|0 months||Patent application submitted to your national IPO. Priority date established|
|~12 months||International (PCT) application filed. Filing date established.||A single patent only provides protection to prevent others from commercially making, using, selling, importing, or distributing a patented invention without permission only within the country that it was filed in. This means that multiple patents would have to be filed in other countries if you intend to have patent rights there too. As long as a foreign application is filed within the 12 months following the priority date, the foreign application will adopt the original priority date and therefore will be treated as if it had been filed on the day of the original local patent application. You can also file for patent applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), which covers around 153 countries. Noting this, there is no such thing as an international patent. Filing a PCT application benefits you by selecting the various countries covered by the PCT that you would like your patent applications to be applicable in. The PCT will then provide you with the relevant costs for each and every application depending on the amount you want and the scope you want to cover but allows any major costs involved in filing foreign patent applications to be deferred to at least thirty months after the initial local (domestic) filing.|
|15 months||ISR and First written opinion on patentability||
Approximately three months after filing the PCT application, an international search report (ISR) and written opinion will be issued. The ISR will detail if there is any prior art, and the written opinion is based on whether the application meets the criteria for patentability: which means it should be novel, inventive and applicable to the industry you are looking to create innovation in. You must let your patent agent/attorney know if there are any references made within previous patents, and ensure they are referenced in the international search report, as it may be decided to respond to these documents by filing amended claims or comments in reply.
|18 months||Publication of International PCT application||Once you have confirmation from the PCT that there is no prior art to invalidate your application, your patent application will be published internationally and made available to the public.|
|30/31 months||Patent application at national or regional level||Your patent would then be filed at national or regional level with the aim of granting it. You can request this to be done earlier if you would like but the typical time would be around 30 months after your initial application.|
|36+ months||Patent granted||A granted patent generally lasts twenty years from the filing date of the PCT application subject to the payment of the annual renewal fees for that country.|
Opposition to Granted Patents: How to avoid it
Even after your patent has been granted, there's a possibility that it may be opposed by your competitors or other third party bodies, who will take you to court for your patent's invalidity due to prior art existing that was not found by the patent office or ISA when considering your application, or patent infringement if any patent claim they had been granted matches any of your patent claims.
The best way for you to avoid this is for you to pan thorough patentability searches, publication searches and FTO (freedom to operate) searches.
PatSnap and Patent Filing Information
PatSnap can be an invaluable tool in doing these searches by filtering relevant patents by keywords, classifications, authorities and information contained in the title, abstract and claims.
A patent's lifetime would usually be around 20 years from the date of the initial filing, and this is also viewable on the platform, as well as any patents it was cited by or cited from.