Important: This information doesn’t constitute professional legal advice. Consult with independent legal counsel for information specific to your region or country and circumstances.

This article is part of the Intellectual Property at Wikifactory series, in which we explore different types of intellectual property and how they can be part of your Wikifactory projects.

What is a patent?

A patent is a limited duration intellectual property right that gives you exclusive rights over your invention for a limited period of time.

Other people cannot make, use, offer for sale, sell or import a product or a process based on your patented invention. You can give someone else temporary permission to use the invention through a patent license agreement or sell the patent to someone else.

What kind of inventions can I patent?

Patents can be granted for any invention having a technical character provided that it is new, involves an ‘inventive step’, and is susceptible to industrial application. A patent can cover how things work, what they do, what they are made of and how they are made.

In this list you can find some of the most relevant conditions to obtain a patent:

  • The invention must include a new characteristic not known in its technical field.
  • It must involve an inventive step, which means it could not be simply deduced by a person having ordinary skill in the relevant technical field.
  • The invention must be capable of industrial application, meaning that it must be capable of being used for an industrial purpose beyond the theoretical phenomenon.
  • It must be considered as patentable. Each country has different limitations regarding what can be patented. For example, aesthetic creations and computer programs cannot be patented in some regions.
  • The invention must be disclosed in an application in a manner sufficiently clear and complete to enable it to be replicated by a person with an ordinary level of skill in the relevant technical field.

Source: World Intellectual Property Organization

Are patents valid in every country?

No. Patents are territorial rights. In general, the exclusive rights are only applicable in the country or region in which a patent has been filed and granted, in accordance with the law of that country or region.

Do I need to register a patent to protect my invention?

Yes, it's necessary to register a patent.

In some regions such as Europe, you have a choice between following the national procedure in each state for which you want protection or applying for an international patent, which in a single procedure confers protection in all the contracting states that you designate.

How long does patent protection last?

Registering a patent gives you exclusive rights over your invention for a limited period, normally 20 years.

You cannot renew a patent after it expires. Once a patent expires, the protection ends, and an invention enters the public domain; that is, anyone can commercially exploit the invention without infringing the patent.

Patent Infringement

If you believe that there's content on Wikifactory that infringes your intellectual property, please check our article on how to Report Intellectual Property infringement.

Patents on Wikifactory

As mentioned in our Terms of Service, all users must use the platform in a way that does not violate any applicable laws, including patent laws.

The user is responsible for making sure that the use of the Platform and the service is in compliance with laws and any applicable regulations.

This includes that all users will not under any circumstances upload, post, host, or transmit any content that infringes on any proprietary right of any party, including patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright, right of publicity, or other rights.

FAQ: Can I patent an invention on Wikifactory?

Our tools and features can be used to develop and document inventions alone or with your team. Do keep in mind that once you patent an invention the possibility for further development is limited to yourself, at Wikifactory we believe that innovation comes from sharing ideas and development which is why we recommend protecting your inventions with open source licenses. If you are considering patenting your invention please consult a local patent professional when doing so.

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