A patent (in Dutch: ‘octrooi’) is an exclusive right to an invention that means that you can prevent someone from commercially exploiting your invention. A patent is a useful tool that will help you stop other parties hitching a free ride on the success of your invention. Patents also give you a stronger hand in your dealings with investors and future partners. However, a patent does require a substantial financial investment.
An invention is basically know-how that the inventor does not want to disclose until they have filed a patent application. However, how can you negotiate with future financial or business partners without disclosure? By storing your idea in a BIP SXM i-Envelope, you can prove that you invented a technical product or process first. The BIP SXM i-Envelope issues a date stamp and, unless you choose to make it public, remains closed to third parties. You can, for example, mention the number of your i-Envelope in a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). This will give you the possibility to negotiate more freely with financial or business partners. If a potential partner discloses your invention, you will be in a better position to prove that they breached the non-disclosure agreement.
Do not disclose your invention until you have filed a patent application! If you reveal your invention to the public too early, it will no longer be considered novel and will become unpatentable.
What is the practical advantage?
A patent gives you a temporary monopoly on the invention. You can prohibit others from using the invention.
How long is it valid?
A patent is valid for a maximum of twenty years.
All patents contain information on the applicant and inventor, along with a description of the invention. All patents all over the world are used to describe innovative products and processes. This allows users to find answers to such questions as:
- Does my invention already exist?
- What products and techniques are there already?
- Who are my potential customers and suppliers?
- What are my competitors up to?
- Who are my potential (commercial) partners and collaborators?
- How do I decide on a strategic innovation policy?
NB. Patents are regulated by Kingdom Law.
What are the criteria for a Patent?
Patent applications must satisfy the following three criteria:
NoveltyThis means that your invention must not have been made public – not even by yourself – before the date of the application.
Inventive stepThis means that your product or process must be an inventive solution. It cannot be a solution that would be obvious to a manufacturer. Take the example of a different attachment method. Instead of welding the tubes of a swing together, they might be screwed together. This may well be a new method of making swings. But for someone involved in making them, it is too obvious a solution to be called an inventive step.
Industrial applicabilityThis criterion implies that it must be possible to actually manufacture the new invention. In other words, you can apply for a patent on a new kind of playing card that is easier to hold than existing cards. But you can’t obtain a patent for an idea for a new card game.
These rules are laid down in the Patents Act 1995.
What can NOT be patented?
- Discoveries, natural scientific theories, mathematical methods;
- Surgical and therapeutic procedures, diagnostic methods;
- Computer programs.
How to apply for a patent on Sint Maarten?
There are several ways in which you can file a Patent application at the Netherlands Patent Office. You have the option to file the Patent on paper, or you can file the Patent online at mijn.rvo.nl/octrooi-aanvragen-in-nederland.
If you submit a Patent application, it must comply with a number of specific requirements, such as a title, a description of the invention and conclusions what is being recorded, is protected.
What are the costs involved in a Patent application?
1. A filing fee of €80 (online) €120 (on paper or CD-R) for filing an application
2. The compulsory novelty search,
costing € 100 (national search, results only valid in the Netherlands) or € 794 (international search), which is performed by the Netherlands Patent Office or the European Patent Office.
3. Costs patent attorney
The costs involved in enlisting the expert help of a patent attorney can be considerable. Patent attorneys charge an hourly rate that is similar to that charged by lawyers. You should prepare thoroughly your visit to a patent attorneys' office by developing your idea in detail. Preferably, you should search the patent databases for several patent publications that relate to your invention prior to your first visit and take these with you. You can find the current overview of patent attorneys on the website of the Netherlands Institute of Patent Attorneys.
In order to maintain your patent rights, you must pay the first maintenance fee (€ 40) starting from the 4th year after filing. These costs increase every year. If you pay the maintenance fees annually, your patent will remain valid for a maximum of 20 years. Of course you have the choice to stop paying this fee before the maximum period of twenty years, the patent will then cease to be valid.
How long is a patent valid?
- A patent is valid for twenty years or less if you stop paying the annual fees;
- From four to ten years the annual fees increase gradually;
- From the tenth year, the annual fees increase with a higher amount.
Where do I find information about existing patents?
•Dutch patent register: https://mijnoctrooi.rvo.nl/fo-eregister-view/
•European patent register: https://register.epo.org/regviewer
•European patent Office: https://www.epo.org/service-support/useful-links/national-offices.html