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    What is a patent?

    A patent protects your technical invention, such as a new or improved product, working method or device. It prevents others from copying your invention as they please.

    Requirements: novel, inventive and applicable in industry

    The law requires an invention to meet a number of requirements. First, an invention must be novel, in other words not yet known to others. Once an invention has been made public, it can no longer be protected. Secondly, an invention must be inventive, not commonplace. Thirdly, the invention must be applicable in industry, meaning that industry can manufacture or use it.


    A patent is an exclusive right. With a patent, you can prohibit others from exploiting your invention commercially. For example, your competitor cannot manufacture, sell or use your product, working method or device. This improves your competitive position. You can also decide to license others, on a paying basis, to manufacture, sell and/or use your product.

    The patent application

    A patent is a written text which describes the technical invention, plus the claims, drawings or examples of the invention. The text first describes what was already known (the prior art) in the field of your invention. The text also states the technical problem for which your invention offers a solution. The claims state what exactly you seek to protect by the patent. A patent attorney, a legally protected title which only professional practitioners with an academic technical background can obtain, after completing a course as a patent attorney, helps you to draw up this patent application and submits it to the government. In the Netherlands, that is the Netherlands Patent Office in Rijswijk.

    Why get a patent?

    It’s a way of securing the return on your investment in the invention or solution. In any case, a patent that describes your invention creates a monopoly which you can use to protect your share of the relevant market. A number of tax breaks are available to recoup the costs of a patent, sometimes in full. You can license a competitor to use your patent-protected invention, against payment of a royalty. A patent can also enable a swap of access to another patent, known as ‘cross-licensing,’ whereby you use another party’s technology to improve your own product or working method. Finally, an active patent policy enhances your image as an innovator.


    Related Questions

    Would you like to discuss the possibilities without any obligation?

    Please contact one of our attorneys