An invention is a new idea which provides a solution to a specific technical problem. Most industrial and consumer products, manufacturing processes and machines can be protected. There are two types of protection in Spain: Invention Patent or Utility Model.
A patent can be filed as a national Patent, or European Patent and PCT if possible.
The most suitable type of protection is determined in collaboration with the client based on the degree of novelty of the invention and on the invention itself, because chemicals or processes cannot be protected as Utility Models, for example.
In relation to the scope of the registration in Spain, there are 3 possibilities:
- National patent or utility model. This is usually the first step because in addition to starting the process, it generates the so-called priority right according to which while the applicant may extend the patent within one year from the date of filing of the first patent or model, the date in question is respected as the priority date vis-à-vis third parties.
- In 1986, Spain ratified the European Patent Convention, which creates a system in which by granting a single Patent, protection extends to all European countries designated in the application.
A European patent application can be filed in any of the three official languages (English, French and German).
The European patent procedure starts paying an application and European search fee. Once the application is published and the search is conducted, a fee for designating countries and for a patent Examination must be paid.
- Spain has also signed the PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty), which establishes a system in which an invention can be protected in about 130 countries with a single International Patent application.
An international application is just as effective as if national applications were individually filed in the various designated countries. Spanish is among the official languages. A PCT patent prosecution consists of two phases, the international and the national phase.
The international phase starts with the application, continues with the international search and ends with the publication of the patent and the search report.
The national phase entails paying a fee, an examination and the translation of the application to the official language of each designated country, for all intents and purposes becoming as many national patents as countries have been selected. Nevertheless, it is not necessary to file the drawings or the priority certificates to the various national offices. This phase must start 30 months after the priority date, in other words the date of first filing.