A patent is a grant of exclusive rights in an
invention. To be patentable in most jurisdictions, including Singapore,
China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, United States, Canada,
Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macao, United Kingdom and Europe, an invention must be useful and proper subject matter. In addition, it
must be novel and inventive.
An invention is considered to be novel if it was not previously disclosed or
known to the public anywhere in the world. An invention is inventive if it
would not be obvious to an average person working in the field to which the
invention relates, taking into consideration the state of the art on the day
you file your patent application (and in some cases on the date of
Technology companies should carefully consider a
patent strategy in light of their product offerings and the innovations made
in those products. For companies that compete on the basis of innovation and
technical distinction, patents are critical assets that increase the value
of the company, provide licensing revenue, add value to products, discourage
copying, and eliminate competition from infringing products. Patent laws
deal harshly with infringers, who may be liable for monetary damages
including attorneys' fees, and may be prevented from manufacture, sale, and
use of patented technology by injunction. Willful infringers may be subject
to willful damages of three times the actual damages.
Through our combination of legal and technical expertise, our attorneys are
skilled at assimilating inventors' technical information, and recognizing
the multiple innovative aspects of a particular innovation for broadly
claiming each aspect individually to obtain intellectual property
protections that anticipates and avoids legal challenge in proceedings such
as litigation, interferences, and reexamination. The attorneys at MACIPO &
ASSOCIATES can also implement a foreign patent program through interaction
with foreign associates.
To determine whether a particular idea is patentable, we suggest having a
patentability search carried out.
To determine whether your device might infringe someone else's device, we suggest having an infringement type search carried out in the
competent Patent Offices, or both.
Although a search is not a pre-requisite to filing a patent application, the
cost of a search is considerably less than drafting and filing a patent
application. Accordingly, if a search reveals that an idea has been
disclosed in a prior reference, performing the search will save the expense
of preparing and filing a patent application for an invention for which
patent protection is no longer available.
The cost to draft and file a first patent application depends on the complexity of the invention, and the cost
may also increase if the application requires numerous revisions to
incorporate on-going improvements and modifications.
Please note that patent applications for all countries in which patent
protection is desired need not be filed right away in many cases. Often,
after filing a first application, you may take advantage of a one year
period within which to file patent applications in other countries. The
costs of filing overseas vary considerably from country to country.
After filing a patent application, there are normally further costs
associated with guiding the application through to the patent grant stage,
such as convincing a Patent Examiner that the application is one for which a
patent should issue. This procedure is referred to as "prosecution" of a
patent application. The prosecution costs will depend on the number of
objections raised by the Patent Examiner and the difficulty encountered in
overcoming these objections. Also, once a patent application is allowed there is a final issue fee to be
paid. Finally, for some other countries, annual government
maintenance fees must be paid to prevent an application or issued patent
from expiring prematurely.
It should be noted that the time span between preparing and filing an
application and obtaining the grant of a national/regional patent is often at
least two years, and longer in some countries and/or regions.
In order to prevent others from exploiting your idea prior to you seeking
patent protection and to preserve your rights to pursue patent protection, it is advisable that you refrain from
disclosing your invention's design to anyone prior to the filing of a patent
application. Any disclosure you make of your idea to other parties should be
protected by a formal confidentiality agreement.