A patent protects a specific solution to a technical problem. The patent gives exclusive rights for a limited period of time during which you can deny competitors the right to use the same solution for as long as the patent remains in force.
What is patent protection?
A patent is a documented exclusive right to an invention. This exclusive right can last for a maximum of 20 years. During this period, you will have exclusive rights to produce, import and sell the invention/product which you have patented. The invention must be described as a specific solution to a technical problem. It must be completely new and cannot have been referred to publicly before you submit your application for a patent (e.g. it cannot have been presented at a trade fair or referred to in an industry periodical). It must also differ significantly from previously known technology within the industry.
It is generally a good idea to ensure that no one already owns the right to the same or similar invention. You can do this by using the Norwegian Industrial Property Office´s search engine.
You can also order a preliminary search from the Norwegian Industrial Property Office to uncover if the invention can be patented.
What can be patented?
- Procedures or methods
- Technical products
What is the duration of a patent?
A patent can normally be held valid for up to 20 years, starting from the date on which you submit your application. The patent must be renewed every year by paying an annual fee.
When should you consider applying for a patent?
Developing products can often be a time-consuming and expensive process.
The application process for patents is also time-consuming, so obtaining a patent is often most relevant for products which will remain on the market for many years, and for procedures or applications which will be used for a reasonably long period of time. A patent is not necessarily profitable for your invention, but it can be a good idea to consider the need for such protection.
If you want to check if your invention is a new one, you can order a preliminary search from the Norwegian Industrial Property Office.
How to apply for a patent?
In order to apply for a patent, you can use the application guide on the Norwegian Industrial Property Office's website. The application guide provides a more convenient application process. You can write, submit, pay and receive your receipt, all in one operation.
Alternatively, you can submit applications for patents to the Norwegian Industrial Property Office via Altinn. You have to pay a fee to have the application processed. See the Norwegian Industrial Property Office website for processing fees.
The application process can be complex. If you have no previous experience with submitting such applications, you should consider getting professional help from a patent agency, for example.
International patent registration
A patent will only be valid in the country in which it has been registered. However, there are schemes for applying for patents in several countries simultaneously.
Appealing against other parties' patents
It is possible to raise a complaint against others parties' patent or patent application. You can obtain more information about this from the Norwegian Industrial Property Office.
Mortgaging of patents
It is possible to mortgage patents, patent applications and patent licenses in Norway.
This type of insurance can significantly reduce the financial risk of legal fees and litigation costs in connection with IPR infringements. Contact your insurance company for more information.
Employees generally have the same rights to their inventions as other inventors. However, subject to certain conditions, the Act on employee inventions gives the employer the right to take over an invention. This only applies to patentable inventions. This does not mean that you have to apply for a patent, but the conditions for being granted a patent must be met.
The employer's right to take over an invention is determined on the basis of the employee's duties within the business, and what agreement the employee has entered into with the employer. If an employer wishes to take over an invention, the employee may be entitled to compensation.
Keep up-to-date through courses from The Norwegian Industrial Property Office
The Norwegian Industrial Property Office offers various courses on how to protect your assets through patent, trademark- and design rights. Some of the courses are free, and most of them are streamed online.