Creativity and innovation are inherent among entrepreneurs. They invent new ideas and designs on a daily basis to meet the ever-increasing and -changing consumer needs. These designs are intellectual properties and need protection to benefit the inventor. Consequently, you need to patent them to protect your intellectual property. For your design to be eligible for a patent in Europe, it must be new and unique, and without features “dictated solely by function”. Some designs do not go through the registration but obtain direct temporal protection if their time of application is short. A five-year protection is warranted for designs which undergo registration following specific steps. Here are steps to help you patent your design.
Send your application to the European Patent Office (EPO) or National Patent Offices depending on your region. The EPO and the National Patent Offices receive direct regional and national applications, respectively. Ensure your applications adhere to the European Patent Convention (EPC) policies or the Patent Co-operation Treaty (PCT). Granting of permission occurs within a period of eighteen months.
2. Filing and Formalities Examination
This stage involves checking the applications to ensure all important documents are available for review. A thorough description of your design and your personal information must be available before the EPO decides on a specific filing date. Feedback from the EPO follows within a period of two months if no claims occur. Formalization of your application is enhanced by the availability of an abstract and on payment of a legal fee for the services.
3. Search Report
A thorough search is done to confirm the validity of your application. All the available documents must meet the novelty standards that are laid down by the EPO. You will then receive a report that gives a general opinion concerning the validity of your design and availability of any claims.
See also: How to Patent a Design Worldwide
Publication of your application and search report occurs eighteen months from the application date. This publication provides a temporal protection of your invention, and offers you more time to analyze the report. You can then request for final substantive reviews of the entire application.
5. Substantive Reviews
Your application is reviewed for the final time to ensure it contains all the requirements. Three copies of the claim must be available in English, French, and German. The three are considered to be the official languages of Europe. At this point, you will be charged a legal fee.
6. Grant Offer
If your application meets all the requirements you will receive the patent. This patent will apply either to a single state or cover several states within Europe. State laws forbid breaching of the design patent as it is written in languages well understood by all citizens. The publications are also available to any interested parties.
Provision of patent rights is important since, as the inventor of the design, you become its legal sole owner and enjoy all the benefits. The technique used in creating the design can become open to the public after a certain period, which comes at a profit. You can also allow other people to use your design under certain rules and regulations. Interested applicants can freely oppose validation of the grant. This opposition might lead to revocation, but you are free to appeal.