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.
What can you obtain a patent for?
- technical products
- ideas, if you can explain or demonstrate how it can be implemented in practice
What is the duration of a patent?
A patent is normally 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 may not be profitable for your invention, but it can be a good idea to consider the need for such protection.
How to apply for a patent?
Applications for patents can be submitted online to the Norwegian Industrial Property Office via Altinn. 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. There are schemes for applying for patents in several countries simultaneously.
Appealing against other parties' patents
You can appeal at the various stages of processing of a 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.
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.
In the determination of the compensation, special consideration must be given to: the value of the invention the scope of the right that the employer has taken over the employee's employment conditions the importance of the employment generally for the creation of the invention.
There are specific rules for teachers and scientific personnel who are employed in universities and university colleges.