What Can Be Protected and How

What Is a Patent?

A patent is a protective document granted by the state giving the patent proprietor an exclusive right to exploit the invention during the fixed period. By publishing the patent the proprietor gives the public valuable technical information. Published inventions represent one of the greatest and the most recent sources of the technical information in the world.

What Is Patentable and What Is Not?

Patents shall be granted to inventions which are new, involve an inventive activity and are susceptible of industrial application. Not only new products, devices and technologies but also chemical substances, medicines, micro-organisms used in industrial production as well as biotechnological processes and products resulting from them are patentable.The scientific theories, computer programs, plant or animal varieties, the new methods for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human and animal body processes for cloning human beings and use of human embryo for industrial or commercial purposes are not patentable. The new plant or animal varieties, the new methods for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human and animal body could be protected under other special legislation.

Scientific theories, computer programmes, plant or animal varieties, new methods for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human beings and animals, processes for cloning human beings and use of human embryo for industrial or commercial purposes are not patentable.

Who Can File a Patent Application?

An inventor shall have the right to file a patent application. Co-inventors of an invention have the right to a solution within the extent to which they participated in creating an invention. If an inventor created an invention within the framework of fulfilling tasks from an employment, similar relationship or from membership relation, right to a solution shall pass to an employer. Right to a solution shall also belong to legal successors in title of persons mentioned above.

What Should a Patent Application Content?

Patent application shall include a request for granting the patent on a prescribed form, description of the invention, patent claims defining the subject matter for which the protection is sought, drawings and the abstract. Information on patent application layout can be found in the Instructions of the Industrial Property Office of the Slovak Republic ("the Office"). The application forms are available in the receiving office or they can be downloaded from this page and printed.

What Does the Application Procedure Involve?

Patent application shall be filed in person with the receiving office of the IPO SR in Banská Bystrica or with the Office branch in Bratislava. The patent application may be submitted to the Office in Banská Bystrica by mail and also electronically. By filing the patent application the applicant shall enjoy the priority right. After filing the patent application and its entry into the Office Register, the Office shall conduct a preliminary examination to eliminate applications containing matters, which are not apparently patentable (for instance therapeutic methods), lacking unity or containing defects preventing them from publishing, from the ongoing procedure. An applicant shall be notified of all irregularities ascertained by the Office. If the patent application meets all requirements, it shall be published in the Official Gazette within the time period of 18 months after the priority date. After the publication of the application, any person shall be entitled to file oppositions against the patentability of the invention that shall be taken into the consideration by the Office in the substantive examination procedure.

Substantive examination of the patentability shall be carried out by the Office on the request of the applicant or the other person. This request must be filed within 36 months from the filing date and relevant administrative fees must be paid. The patent shall be granted after the substantive examination if the invention meets all legal requirements for patentability. In other words, if the invention meets every single criterion of protection, novelty, inventive activity and industrial application - and all of them together - the patent protection can be granted. If the requirements of patentability are not met, the Office invites the applicant to remedy the application within the certain time period. This time period can be extended by the Office subject to request of the applicant. If the applicant fails to remove the irregularities of the application during the administrative procedure, the Office shall suspend the patent application procedure.

The granted patent shall be valid for 20 years from filing date of the application. Patent application procedure is subject to the payment of administrative fees. Maintenance of the patent is subject to the maintenance fees. Maintenance fees – information for applicants.

Why to Be a Patent Proprietor?

Patent proprietor shall have an exclusive right to an invention. It means that no person is entitled to use an invention without the consent of the proprietor. This consent shall be given by a licence agreement. The patent can also be sold or transferred to a legal person or natural person. The transfer and licence agreement shall have an effect in respect of the third party after entry into the Patent Register.