All posts by Roland Duchêne

When can it be useful to keep my invention secret?

Filing Patents is often an important aspect for implementing an intellectual property strategy for innovative companies. Patents are however not the only way to protect an invention. In fact, in some cases, filing a patent application is not recommended.

Indeed, a patent application is usually published 18 months after filing (or the priority date), which means that all the technical details and know-how described in it will become publicly available. This simple fact may have important ramifications for your business and will influence the way you protect your innovation.

It also raises important questions, like: Do you really want to give access to your competitors to the technical data and know-how of your inventions or do you want to keep all this information secret? Does it make sense to systematically file a patent for every invention?


Did you know that inventions which at first sight appear obvious might be patentable?

You have come up with a process, a device, or a product that solves a particular technical problem? However, you believe that it is so simple and obvious it must surely not be patentable…Think again! Actually, you might be using hindsight knowledge.

Once the solution to a particular problem is known, it is of course tempting to think it was easy or straightforward to imagine. This is called hindsight. However, this is not how inventive step is assessed at the European Patent Office (EPO). Indeed, it seems to be obvious now … but was it really obvious before the solution was actually known?


Did you know that improvements are patentable?

We often meet inventors who believe that their invention is not patentable because it is an improvement of a patented invention.

However an improvement of a patented invention is patentable provided that in view of the state of the art, it is novel, involves an inventive step (i.e. is not obvious) and is susceptible of industrial application. The state of the art is defined as everything made available to the public before the date of filing of the patent application.