What is a patent? What about utility models? On this page you will find general information on IPR related concepts.
First, check out a few introduction videos on the topic:
A patent is a right to prohibit granted by a patent authority, by means of which others can be prohibited from using an invention commercially. The right to prohibit is granted for a fixed term (20 years in most countries) and region (a specific country or area).
An industrially manufactured or used device, product, method or use which is new and inventive (differs from the previously known) is patentable. Computer software combined with a technical application, biological material containing genetic information, or a microbiological method are also patentable. The patent authority uses its discretionary power in determining whether the level of inventiveness is sufficient, that is, whether the invention differs sufficiently from what is previously known, or whether the invention (despite is novelty) belongs within the scope of the normal skills of a professional.
Patenting is an efficient way of protecting inventions and the results of product development from illicit copying by competitors. Rapid product development and concealment of production methods also provide protection to a degree, but these methods are often inapplicable or insufficient, making patenting the only viable form of protection. Patenting is also significant in securing one’s freedom to operate.
A trademark is a symbol which distinguishes the goods or services marketed by a trader from the goods or services of others. As a trademark can be registered any mark which can be represented graphically and by means of which goods or services launched in business activity can be distinguished from the goods or services of others. A trademark may be, for example, a word, device, letter, number, or a combination of these, the name of a person, the shape of the goods or their wrapping, or a slogan.
A utility model right refers to an exclusive right registered on application to an inventor for the commercial use of the inventor’s invention. The exclusive right is granted for a fixed term and region, in the same way as the exclusive right granted by a patent. In Finland, a utility model is valid for a maximum of 10 years in total (by paying renewal fees after 4 years and 8 years from the date of application).
A utility model application is drawn up mainly in the same way as a patent application, but it cannot, however, be used to protect method inventions. The requirement of inventiveness is lower than that required of inventions to be protected by a patent.
A design refers to the outward appearance of a product or its part. A product refers to goods as well as packages, the outward appearance of packages, graphic symbols and fonts produced industrially or by handwork.
We make diverse online searches concerning patents, trademarks, designs and utility models. We use both free and commercial databases. We also monitor IP rights of competitors of our clients for the purposes of opposition.
As regards trademarks comprehensive online searches reveal prior similar or identical trademark registrations and applications which might constitute an obstacle to your trademark registration. Searches may be conducted on Finnish trademarks, European Union trade marks and international registrations designated to a specific country. It is advisable to include trade names and surnames in the search, as they may also be cited as obstacles to Finnish trademark registrations.