Patents are perhaps the most well-known IP rights. But what are they really and what are the requirements for requesting one in the Netherlands?
The goal of requesting a patent is to have the exclusive right on an invention. Therefore, there must be an invention. But what is an invention? In the world of Ducth IP, an invention is a technical product or a production process. Examples of inventions are: a vacuum cleaner, a coffee machine and a way to have wireless connection to a network (wifi).
Once you establish you have an invention, you must determine if the invention also meets the following requirements:
- Novelty: The invention must be novel, which means that it must not have been published before the application date of the patent;
- Inventive: The invention must be original and it must not be obvious for experts in the field of concern. It may therefore not be part of the “state of the art”;
- Functional: the invention must be applicable in practice and it must work.
For how long?
A patent has a validity of 20 years from the moment of application.
The costs for a patent application in the Netherlands consist of 4 parts:
- Application: € 80,- (if requested online) or € 120,- (hardcopy application);
- Mandatory search to the state of the art: € 100,- for a national request and € 794,- for an international request;
- Maintenance: these are the costs to maintain the patent during the years the patent is valid. These costs are applicable from the 4th year and rise to € 1400,- per year;
- Patent attorney: Writing a patent can be very complex and it must be done correctly, or it may be useless. Therefore, it’s very wise to have a patent attorney do the application. The fees for an attorney can vary from € 2000,- to € 11000,- .
Patent vs trademark vs copyright vs design
As you can see, patents are applicable to inventions. Therefore, it’s not possible to “request a patent on a name”, as there is trademark law for names and logo’s. And should your invention have a certain design, copyright and design law can also be applicable. Multiple IP rights can therefore be applicable to one single product (which is also often the case). For more information on this, please read my previous article on the different kinds of IP rights (in Dutch).