What is a patent?

A patent is an industrial property right for protecting technical ideas. In Finland, anyone who has made an invention, which is susceptible of industrial application, or his successor in title, shall be entitled, on application, to a patent and thereby to the exclusive right to exploit the invention commercially. According to the Finnish Patent Act, patents may only be granted for inventions which are new in relation to what was known before the filing date of the patent application and which also differ essentially therefrom.

A Patent covers a limited territory, and it is in force for a limited period of time, not longer than for 20 years from the effective filing date of the application. A patent can be granted as a national patent, in which case the patent protection covers only the country in question, or as a regional patent. In Finland, patents are granted by the Finnish Patent and Registration Office (PRH).

Why to apply?

Applying for a patent is worthwhile, if you have a new idea or product that you want to protect. Product development requires resources, and a patent can prevent competitors from copying your idea. A patent can be used as a marketing tool, and it can help you to commercialize your invention. Moreover, a patent is a clear indication of innovativeness. Patented innovations are assets: they increase the value of your company.

How we can help you

We assist you with drafting your patent application and we take care of all further actions.

Patent application

We asses, which form of protection is right for your invention. A preliminary search can be conducted, if more information of the novelty of the invention is needed before starting the application process. Furthermore, results of a preliminary search often support the drafting of the actual patent application, e.g. by helping to define the scope of protection more precisely. Our patent attorneys are experienced in handling patent matters in various technical fields. We handle the formalities in the filing process and file the application for you. We also take care of the correspondence with patent authorities

Application process

After the application has been filed, and it has been formally examined, the Patent Office carries out a technical examination. The Examiner in charge will normally issue one or more search reports, so-called office actions, assessing the patentability of your invention with respect to prior art, i.e. to what already exists. A response to search reports has to be filed by the deadline set by the Patent Office. Once the application meets the provided requirements, a patent will be granted for the invention. Application process requirements vary depending on the country or territory in which protection is sought.

Further actions

In Finland, a patent is valid for a maximum for 20 years from the effective filing date of the application provided that annuity fees for maintaining the patent are duly paid. We take care of the maintenance of your patent as well as of recordals of any changes in the patent register.

In Finland, it is possible to file an opposition against a patent during an opposition period, which is nine months from the date of grant of the patent. An opposition can be filed, e.g. if the opponent is of the opinion that the subject matter of the patent is not novel or inventive. We help patent owners in opposition processes to respond to oppositions, and we protect our clients against infringers by filing oppositions.

We also safeguard our clients’ interests in other patent-related conflict and infringement matters.

International protection

In order to secure as wide protection as is of interest, international protection is often needed. There are several possibilities to proceed internationally depending on the number of the countries in which the invention is to be protected, on life cycle of the invention and on strategy of the company using the invention. We handle the procedure of the international applications directly with Patent Offices or through our international agency network.

If you want to protect your invention only in few countries, it is often recommended to file a national patent application in each desired country. However, if several countries in Europe are of interest, it is advisable to file a European patent application according to European Patent Convention (EPC). European patent application is examined and granted by the European Patent Office. After the European patent office has granted the patent, it can be registered in the desired member states of the EPC.

One alternative is to file an international PCT patent application according to Patent Cooperation Treaty. A PCT application is filed at the Receiving Office, which is in Finland the Finnish Patent and Registration Office (PRH).

We help you with choosing the most appropriate ways to protect your patent internationally.

Alternatives for a patent

An alternative for a patent is a utility model.

Utility models can be registered for inventions, which are new in relation to what was known before the effective filing date of the application, and which also differ clearly therefrom. With a utility model you can protect technical solutions like with a patent, however, it cannot be used to protect method inventions.

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Our experts will help you

Pekka Heinänen

Pekka Heinänen

European Patent Attorney, EU Trademark and Design Attorney +358 9 4130 2525
Terho Laine

Terho Laine

Registered Patent Attorney, European Patent Attorney, EU Design Attorney +358 9 413 2535
Juhani Vastavuo

Juhani Vastavuo

Registered Patent Attorney, European Patent Attorney +358 9 413 2540
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