A patent is the "sole and exclusive right to exploit an invention for commercial ", and grants the owner of the invention the right to exclude others from producing, using, selling or importing the invention into a geographical territory for a limited period - for up to 20 years.
You can't obtain a patent for an idea, but you can obtain a patent for the technical design of your idea.
We can advice and guide you in the process of obtaining a patent.
What can be patented?
Patents include processes, machines and composition of cases and methods. To obtain a patent, the invention must:
- not be published anywhere in the world.
- not be obvious to a skilled person with the same background information - i.e. differs significantly from and has inventive depth in relation to existing solutions in the field.
- be usable in industrial production - i.e. it must solve the identified problem and be reproducible.
Why should I patent my invention?
With a patent, you obtain more options with your invention. A patent:
- makes it easier to attract investors and capital.
- grants a sole and exclusive right to utilise an invention for up to 20 years.
- provides security if collaborating with retroactive effect.
- is an item you can trade with.
When am I the inventor?
You are the inventor when you make original and intellectual contributions to the invention. You are not the inventor if you are grant holder or manager of the inventor or if you test/demonstrate the invention’s practical nature under instruction.
SDU RIO will happily help to determine who the inventor is.
Who decides what can be patented?
The business developers at SDU RIO collaborate with an external patent advisor to determine whether the basis for filing a patent application exists. SDU RIO has agreements with patent offices that employ advisors with specialist knowledge and certification in international patent law.
In most cases, a patent is the preferred choice - but not always. In some cases, SDU decides to commercialise the research without patenting the invention.
What does it cost to obtain a patent?
It costs between DKK 50,000 and DKK 80,000 to prepare and submit a patent application, and it costs between DKK 40,000 and DKK 60,000 to submit the PCT application.
In addition, it costs between DKK 50,000 and DKK 100,000 to obtain a patent in each selected country. Afterwards, there are maintenance costs that you are obliged to pay if the patent is to remain valid in the individual country.
Overall, a patent costs around DKK 500,000 and DKK 700,000 over its lifetime if applications are submitted in the usual Western countries. In addition, there are costs for a possible defence of the application and prosecution of offenders.
SDU pays the patent costs until a company or a spin-out takes over commercial rights to the invention by means of a licence agreement or by purchasing the patent. It also takes over the costs of the patent application.
The patent process
When you submit a patent application, a priority application date is set, which is the date from which your patent applies if your application is successful. SDU most often uses the European Patent Office (EPO) as the initial patent office.
From the priority application date, you have 12 months to file an international patent application - also known as a PCT (patent corporation treaty). The PCT system allows you to submit the same patent application in more than 140 countries over the next 18 months
The assessment of your invention depends on your application as well as negotiations between a patent examiner and a patent advisor. There are often several rounds of correspondence between the partners, where you as a researcher are involved in confirming the technical aspects of your invention.
About 30 months pass between submitting your patent application and the final application phase for the patent starts. A patent must be applied for individually in each country. Therefore, this phase is often the longest and most expensive, due to fees and translations for example.
It takes between three and five years to obtain a patent for your invention, but in some cases it may take even longer.
Other means to protect rights
Often called the “minor patent”. These are often inventions that can be used industrially and that involve a solution to a technical problem. The protection often only applies in Denmark and for a maximum of 10 years.
Protection of the appearance of a product - such as spare parts for cars or designs. The protection applies for a maximum of 15 years.
This form of protection covers literary and artistic works such as art, music, films and books. This form of protection is obtained as the work is created, and appliers for 70 years after the death of the author.