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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?

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Do you disclose all technical details in your patent application?

Inventors are often reluctant to disclose all technical details of their invention in their patent application. They fear that disclosing these details in a patent application makes it too easy for copycats.

Although this reasoning is certainly understandable, it goes against the idea of patent protection. Disclosing your invention helps society as a whole to broaden the state of the art and to stimulate innovation. In exchange for disclosing your invention, a granted patent gives you the right to exclude competitors from manufacturing, using, selling, offering for sale, importing or exporting your patented invention for a limited term.

On extrajudicial admissions in Belgium

An extrajudicial admission is an admission made outside of court proceedings. Depending on the country, such an admission can be used against you in court proceedings. In Belgian law there are no specific provisions relating to the admissibility of extrajudicial admissions in court proceedings relating to patents, but case law shows that Belgian courts will take them into account, and it proves difficult to revert back from them.

Is double patenting permissible at the European Patent Office? (G4/19)

The Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBoA), the highest judicial authority under the European Patent Convention (EPC), issued its decision in case G4/19 (double patenting) on 22 June 2021, in which it held that a European patent application can be refused based on the prohibition on double patenting, i.e. if it claims the same subject-matter as a European patent which has been granted to the same applicant and does not form part of the state of the art pursuant to Article 54(2) and (3) EPC.

International patent

There is no such thing as an international patent

Due to the growing interdependence of the world’s economy and population, your market is not limited to the countries in which your company is based. Indeed you may have a global impact.

Therefore, how do you protect your inventions internationally?
There is no such thing as an international patent, as a patent is restricted to a specific territory and no single patent confers protection for your invention at a worldwide level.

Patent term extension

Patent Term Extensions now available in China

Today, on 1 June 2021, the fourth amendment to the Chinese patent law will enter into force. In addition to an overall strengthening of the patent system, as we reported previously, significant changes have been introduced that are relevant to the pharmaceutical field.

Here, we want to alert you to the introduction of a completely new patent term extension system in China for pharmaceutical products. The mechanism is strongly inspired on the Patent Term Extension (PTE) system in the US and the analogous Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs) in Europe, but there are significant differences as well.