A patent is a right granted for any device, substance, method, process which is new, inventive and useful. Patents are legally enforceable and gives the owner the exclusive right to commercially exploit the invention for the life of the patent. The innovation patent is a protection option which is designed to protect inventions that are not sufficiently inventive. A good example is the ipod range.
According to the Patents and Designs Act an invention is patentable-
(a) If it is new, results from inventive activity and is capable of industrial application; or
(b) If it constitutes an improvement upon a patented invention and also is new, results from inventive activity and is capable of industrial application.
Advantages of getting a patent
A patent gives you the right to stop others from copying, manufacturing, selling or importing your invention without your permission.
You get protection for a pre-determined period, allowing you to keep competitors at bay.
The right to a patent in respect of an invention is vested in the statutory inventor, that is to say, the person who, whether or not he is the true inventor, is the first to file or validly claim a foreign priority for a patent application in respect of the invention.
Alternatively, you can license your patent for others to use it, or sell it, as with any asset. This can provide an important source of revenue for your business. Indeed, some businesses exist solely to collect the royalties from a patent they have licensed – perhaps in combination with a registered design and trade mark.
How do I register a patent in Nigeria?
It’s similar to Trademark registration. First, a search would be carried out to make sure that product has not already been patented, an application would be made and the prescribed fee paid.
The term of the patent grant is for twenty (20) years from the date of filing. Note that the patent registration is renewable annually.
Lastly, although the idea of registering a patent may seem like the best thing to do,Note that it is usually cost intensive and time consuming. In addition, you’ll need to be prepared to defend your patent. Taking action against an infringer can be very expensive.
On the other hand, a patent can act as a deterrent, making defence unnecessary.
Next up, we will look at the difference between the Copyright, trademark and Patent.