A patent protects a technical invention. Products and methods may both be patented. Being a patent owner, you are entitled to bar third parties from making commercial use of the protected invention.
Usually only inventions which are new and based on an inventive step are accessible to patent protection. Until the invention is filed for a patent, it must therefore be kept absolutely secret since in most countries even own prior publications are also detrimental to novelty of the patent application.
The patentability of the invention as applied for, in particular whether it is novel and is based on an inventive step is examined by the German Patent and Trademark and the European Patent Office only after having filed a request for examination. If the examination reveals that the invention applied for is patentable and suffices further mandatory requirements, the patent will be granted. The maximum term of a patent is usually 20 years from the filing date.
In Germany, technical inventions may be protected by a utility model in addition or as an alternative to a patent. The maximum term of a utility model is about 10 years from the filing date. Contrary to a patent, methods cannot be protected by a German utility model.
The attorneys of IP Advocates have wide technical competence with respect to the preparation, filing and prosecution of patent and utility model applications.