Protecting our technologies

Securing a solid patent position

 

When our inventions can be of interest to industry or society we analyse their patentability.

 

An organization that holds a patent on a technology and their licensees have the right to prevent others from making or selling that technology. This control on the commercial use of the technology is important to secure the investments that are required to further develop the technology towards a product that is fit for the market.

 

To obtain a patent an inventor needs to demonstrate that the technology is new (novel), useful and not obvious to someone working in the related field.

 

An invention is considered new if it is not included in the state of the art. The state of the art (also “prior-art”) consists of everything that has been made available to the public before the filing date of the patent application by a written or oral description, use or any other means. This may be, for example, the commercialisation of the invention, press conferences, press articles, publications or public exhibitions.

 

 

Preserving the novelty of an invention implies keeping it secret and out of the public domain before filing a patent application.

 

To maximise our chances to protect our technologies with a patent

  • All our scientists

    • assign their rights on research results, discoveries and inventions to Ghent University who has the exclusive right to protect such inventions by the application for patents

  • Our IP-advisors, together with our scientists and business developer, perform a thorough analysis of the prior-art that is described in the public domain (scientific literature, patents and patent applications, press releases, posters, …) to check the novelty of our inventions

  • The scope of the patent and the claims should secure the industrial/commercial application of the technology and is defined based on our supportive proof-of-concept data and the prior results of the prior-art analysis

  • We file the patent applications before the underlying results are published.  When possible, the publication is postponed until the patent application becomes public.

  • Before the inventions enter in the public domain, either as a scientific publication or a patent application, the technology is only disclosed to third parties after signature of a confidentiality agreement

 

 

A patent can last up to 20 years, but the patent holder usually has to pay certain fees periodically throughout that 20-year period for the patent to remain valid.