Currently browsing: Patents

right to a patent

Did you know that the right to a patent needs to be assigned from the inventor to the applicant?

According to Belgian patent law, the right to a patent for an invention belongs to the inventor or to its successor in title. Therefore, the right to a patent always originates from the inventor, i.e. a natural person. However, this right can be assigned to another entity, such as a company, by means of an agreement. The assignment is important because, in its absence, the inventor can request the Court to transfer the patent to itself or to be registered as co-owner of the patent if the inventor only partially contributed to the invention. Alternatively, the inventor can also request the Court to nullify the patent in its entirety, or partially, when the inventor only contributed to part of the invention.

Artificial intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI): Dissecting the AI Value Chain

Digital technologies continue to evolve rapidly and the use of Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) has become integrated into all kinds of applications and industries. AI is the backbone of search engines, chatbots, customized marketing, self-driving cars, smart devices, cybersecurity and many more applications. AI and data are driving companies to innovate and sometimes transform their business models.

novelty search

Did you know it’s a best practice to do a novelty search before drafting a patent application?

Did you know that you can increase the chance of success of obtaining a strong patent by doing a novelty search before drafting a patent application?

Indeed, to be eligible for patent protection, an invention needs to be new and inventive. An invention is novel if it has not been known to the public in any way before filing a patent application. It is considered inventive if, having regard to the state of the art (i.e. what is publicly known), it is not obvious to the person skilled in the art and provides a technical effect.

Why patent attorneys should care about competition (case)law

Patents are, by their very nature, anti-competitive. More specifically, a patent owner has the right to stop others from commercializing his invention and thus has the right, albeit temporarily, to prevent competition. However, while the legislator has accepted the anti-competitive nature of patents as a means to promote innovation, this should not be taken to mean that all patent matters are immediately outside the scope of competition law. In the following, we review the judgement of January 30th, 2020 in case C-307/18 which deals with patent settlements and why these may infringe Article 101 TFEU.


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?

novelty search

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.