FAQ on a Patent
WHAT IS A PATENT?
A patent is the right protecting an invention in any field of technology. In order for an invention to be patentable, it must meet three requirements:
- being new,
- involving an inventive step,
- being susceptible of industrial application.
Patent right is granted by the responsible state auhority with the payment of the fee, and it lasts for a certain period of time in a certain territory. The same invention may be protected simultaneously in several countries, provided that it has been applied for, examined, and granted at national level in every country where patent protection is sought.
WHY IS IT NECESSARY TO PROTECT AN INVENTION?
By protecting his/her invention by a patent, a patent holder can prevent unauthorized use, distribution or sale of a product or a process. Good patent management enables the patent holder to make commercial use of the invention for the purpose of better recognizability in the target market, profit increase and company value increase.
WHAT IS NOT PATENTABLE SUBJECT MATTER, i.e. WHAT IS NOT CONSIDERED AN INVENTION?
The following shall not be regarded as inventions: discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods, aesthetic creations, schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, playing games or doing business, computer programmes, and presentation of information defined by the content of such information itself.
WHO GRANTS PATENTS?
The procedure for the acquisition, maintenance, termination and keeping records of the transfer of a patent and a consensual patent is conducted before the Institute for Intellectual Property of Bosnia and Herzegovina (the Institute).
The Institute maintains the Register of Patent Applications and the Register of Patents.
WHAT ARE THE PHASES OF THE GRANT PROCEDURE?
1. Filing an application with the Institute,
2. Formal examination of the application in the Institute,
3. Publication of the patent application in the Official Gazette of the Institute, available in paper and electronic forms on the Web site of the Institute www.ipr.gov.ba,
4. Request by the applicant to the Institute concerning a type of examination of the patent application. Within six months from the publication date of the patent application in the Official Gazette, the applicant files a request for:
- the grant of a patent on the basis of a substantive examination of the patent application in the Institute, or
- the grant of a patent on the basis of the submitted results of a substantive examination of the patent application carried out by some other authority, as accepted, or
- deferred examination of the patent application and the grant of a consensual patent,
5. Examination of the patent application in the Institute,
6. Issuing of a decision to grant a patent by the Institute,
7. Publication of the patent in the Official Gazette.
WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE TO FILE A PATENT APPLICATION?
The procedure is initiated by filing an application for the grant of a patent with the Institute. It is necessary to furnish a completed request for the grant of a patent, accompanyng documents and proof of payment of the costs involved. The application is filed in written form, directly or by mail, by telefax or electronically to the official e-mail of the Institute, provided that within 15 days from the date of its receipt by the Institute, it is furnished to the Institute in written form. A separate application is filed for each invention.
A patent application consists of:
- a request for the grant of a patent (P1 Form) with an indication that the grant of a patent is requested, the title of the invention reflecting its essence, information concerning the applicant, and information concerning the inventor. The request form is available on the Web site of the Institute www.ipr.gov.ba,
- a detailed and clear description of the invention,
- one or more patent claims that need to be clear, concise, and fully supported by the description of the invention and drawings, if any,
- any drawings referred to in the description of the invention and patent claims,
- an abstract of the essence of the invention serving exclusively the purpose of providing technical information.
The form is completed on a computer or a typewriter, in one of the official languages of BIH. It is furnished in two copies, and other accompanying documents in one copy. One copy of the form is retained by the Institute, and the other copy, date stamped, with the number of the patent application entered, incoming correspondence serial number, and official seal is furnished to the applicant as proof of accordal of the filing date to the application.
Reduction of fees and prosecution costs may be claimed on the basis of certificate of membership in one of the societies of innovators registered in BIH.
The following accompanyng documents are furnished with the patent application:
- declaration of the inventor in the event that he does not wish to be mentioned in the application,
- power of attorney if the application is filed through a representative,
- declaration on a common representative where there are several applicants.
For further information, please refer to the Regulations Concerning Procedure for the Grant of a Patent and a Consensual Patent.
WHAT DOES IT COST TO OBTAIN AND MAINTAIN A PATENT?
All actions in the procedure for the grant, maintenance, keeping records of the transfer and termination of a patent, and information service providing are subject to the payment of the administrative fee and prosecution costs by bank transfer or by post. The schedule of fees and costs of prosecution may be found on the Institute's Web site www.ipr.gov.ba, section fees and costs.
Proof of payment is furnished on filing the application. If the patent is granted, the patent holder is obligated to pay maintenance fees every year.
DO I NEED TO HIRE A REPRESENTATIVE?
Hiring a representative by a national natural person or a national legal entity is not prescribed by the Law, and it is up to the applicant to decide whether to hire a representative or not.
The register of patent attorneys is available in electronic form on the Institute's Web site www.ipr.gov.ba
HOW LONG DOES PATENT PROTECTION LAST?
A patent is granted for a fixed number of years.
Patents last 20 years, and consnsual patents last 10 years from the filing date of the application.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PATENT AND A CONSENSUAL PATENT?
A patent and a consensual patent differ in:
- term of protection – a patent lasts 20 years, and a consensual patent lasts 10 years from the filing date of the application;
- patent application prosecution – prosecution of a consensual patent application does not require a substantive examination of patent grant conditions.
Not carrying out a substantive examination simplifies the grant procedure and reduces the costs involved. But, any legal entity may file with the Institute, within six months from the publication of a patent application, an opposition against the grant of a consensual patent, following which the applicant must file a request for a substantive examination of a patent. More information on the patent protection may be found in the Patent Law.
DOES THE PROTECTION OBTAINED IN BIH EXTEND TO OTHER COUNTRIES?
A patent granted under the provisions of BIH Law is a territorially limited right which is only effective in the territory of BIH.
HOW DO I OBTAIN PATENT PROTECTION IN OTHER COUNTRIES?
Options available for obtaining patent protection in other countries are:
- filing a patent application directly with patent offices of the countries where patent protection is sought;
- filing an application under the Patent Cooperation Treaty through the Institute;
- filing an application directly with the regional patent offices (for Europe: European Patent Office, for Benelux countries: Benelux Office for Intellectual Property, for African countries: Organization Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle, etc.).
- Patent Law, Official Gazette of BIH volume 53/19
- Regulations Concerning Procedure for the Grant of a Patent and a Consensual Patent, Official Gazette of BIH volume 105/10
- Administrative Fees Law, Official Gazette of BIH volumes 16/02, 19/02
- Decision on the Specific Costs of Procedure for the Acquisition and Maintenance of Industrial Property Rights, Official Gazette of BIH volume 109/10
- Administrative Procedure Law, Official Gazette of BIH volumes 29/02, 12/04, 88/07, 93/09