Industrial property rights are titles of protection that are granted by a state. An inventor’s patent is protected for at least 20 years. During this time, nobody but the owner may economically benefit from the invention by producing, selling or introducing it on the market.
Example: The inventor of the paper clip may prohibit other people to produce paper clips without his consent. He may also allow the production of paper clips in return for remuneration and may therefore grant a license to a third party.
From a legal point of view, an invention is a new solution to a technical problem. Products (such as heatable ski boots or chemical compounds such as aspirin) and processes (such as a process for freeze drying coffee) can be patented. The patent is only protected in those countries in which a patent has been granted. At the end of 20 years after the first application a patent normally expires.
The invention becomes then public property and may be used freely by everybody.
There is the prevailing opinion that industrial property rights are expensive but mistakes made in the fields of industrial property rights are much more expensive. This would be the case if the protection of the invention is in question or if industrial property rights of others are infringed by own activities. Applicants not having an efficient portfolio management may not be sure that their patent rights meet their actual requirements of business strategies.
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