APPLYING FOR A PATENT

A new innovation

What can be patented?

  • Congratulations, you’ve invented something new!
  • You can apply for a patent or other protection for a new product, device or method, which has not yet been published.
  • Before going ahead with production, distribution, sales or marketing, you need to consider protecting the intangible property of your business. This so-called IPR strategy is essential for any business attempting to develop something new.

Why do you need to protect your innovation?

  • If you publish your invention or innovation and bring it to market without protection, your product essentially becomes fair game. It’s very difficult to prevent others from reproducing an unpatented or otherwise unprotected product. In the worst-case scenario, you’ll lose all financial benefit attainable from your invention.
  • Protecting your invention with a patent or utility model gives you the right to exclude others from using and commercially exploiting your protected product.
  • By protecting your innovation you can improve your bargaining position in any negotiations involving your business.
  • Most importantly, it’s essential to get the protection process started early. Begin the patenting as early as possible – before disclosing any information of your innovation to anyone or making any related arrangements.

What should you do?

  • Contact us and let’s set up a meeting to assess your situation. Our patent attorney will look into your invention and discuss the best way to protect your innovation with you. The initial meeting is always free of charge and fully confidential.
  • Before drafting the patent application, we can conduct a novelty search to identify which aspects of your innovation are new and patentable.
  • If the preliminary review shows no significant obstacles to patenting, we will draft a patent application and submit it to patent authorities for examination.
  • You can also have us conduct a Freedom to Operate analysis for any existing patents or patent applications in your technical field and evaluate the risks they may pose to your business.

Patenting

  • Patenting is a lengthy process. Finnish patent authorities typically take two to three years to grant a patent. In other countries, it often takes longer.
  • A patent granted in Finland is valid only in Finland. To protect your product in the international market, you need to apply for a patent in multiple countries. We take care of patenting for you in all your target countries.
  • Over the course of the prosecution, patent authorities conduct a technical examination of your application. Based on office communications issued by the patent authority, your application is amended and clarified where necessary.
  • When an application meets all requirements, the patent authority grants the patent. The patent comes into force once it’s granted.

Common pitfalls

  • It’s not always clear which aspects of the developed product can be patented. We’ll help you identify this.
  • Patent authorities typically find reasons to reject a patent application. This does not mean, however, that a patent cannot be obtained. We can usually reach an understanding with the patent authority by amending the scope of protection and providing well-informed argumentation, and have the patent granted.
  • Once a patent application has been filed, any amendments to the scope of protection must be based on what is already included in the application. Our experienced patent attorneys have the required skills to draft an application that allows for amending the scope of protection during prosecution.
  • Patent prosecution involves a number of formal requirements and deadlines, along with fees you need to pay on your own initiative. We’ll manage all these practical matters for you and keep you up to date on the progress of the patenting process.

Get in touch – we’re here to help

  • Applying for a patent may seem like an insurmountable task. However, protecting your innovation can make or break your future, so you should never postpone getting the process started. Our patent attorneys are happy to support you on your journey.
  • Don’t hesitate to contact us – we’ll advice you, guide you along and tell you more about patenting. Let’s get started!

Contact us!

Sanna Kalliola
European Patent Attorney 

  • +358 40 845 7265
  • firstname.lastname@espatent.fi

Initial meeting

The patenting process begins with an initial meeting. Our patent attorney looks into your invention and discusses best way to protect your innovation with you. We’ll also go through some factors that need to be considered when drafting the application.

When necessary, we’ll conduct a novelty search to identify which aspects of your invention are new and patentable. This search helps us define a proper focus for protecting your invention. The next step is to draft an application, which we then complete based on your feedback. The final application is sent to you for approval before filing it to the patent authority for examination.

The application should be drafted with extreme care, as the process doesn’t allow for making later additions. Any amendments must be made within the framework of what is already included in the filed application. You should reserve 1 to 2 months for drafting the patent application, unless there are specific reasons for expediting the filing of your patent application. In any case, the patent application must be submitted to the patent authority for examination before the invention is published.

Filing the application

Over the course of the prosecution, the patent authority examines the patent application to determine if defined formal and substantial patentability requirements are met. The patent authority then issues an office communication presenting their opinion on the patentability of your invention.

The office communication requires a response within a given time limit. We’ll discuss your options and any amendments of the application with you, and draft a response to the office communication as per your instructions.

Authorities may issue several office communications before a final decision. The length of prosecution varies in different countries and on a case-by-case basis. A typical prosecution period is 2 to 5 years. The better a patent application is drafted, the more likely it is to succeed in prosecution.

Should you wish to extend patent protection to other countries, you have to proceed within 12 months of filing the first application. The first office communication from the patent authority usually provides valuable information for decision-making related to applying for a patent in other countries. We’ll help you assess the situation and advise you on the different options available.

We take care of patenting for you in all your target countries as per your instructions through our global network of partners.

Patent is granted

When your application meets all requirements, the patent authority grants the patent.

The patent is in force as of the date of issue, and it can be maintained in force for 20 years from the filing date of the application. The patent authorities in each country are paid maintenance fees to keep the granted patent in force. Some countries require a maintenance fee already at the application stage. Our renewal payment service is the easiest way to take care of timely maintenance fee payments.

The patent holder has the right to exclude others from professionally exploiting the patent-protected invention for the duration of the patent term in a given country. It’s up to the patent holder to assert their rights. We’ll help you assert and defend your patent rights.

The patent expires

Contact us!

Sanna Kalliola
European Patent Attorney 

  • +358 40 845 7265
  • firstname.lastname@espatent.fi

Espatent Oy
Kaivokatu 10 D, 00100 HELSINKI-FIN
Tel. +358 10 219 0720 | Fax. +359 9 278 5206
info@espatent.fi

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