Products as well as methods and uses are patentable.
Being new and based on an inventive step means in this connection that the object of the invention was neither known in the state of the art prior to the filing date of the patent nor deducible in an obvious way from the state of the art by an average expert in the corresponding field. The relevant “state of the art” is formed by all information accessible to the public prior to the filing date, e.g. written publications, presentations, etc.
Obtaining a patent:
In order to obtain a patent, a patent application has to be filed with the competent patent office, e.g. the German Patent and Trademark Office or the European Patent Office. After the patent application has been examined as to formal and substantive deficiencies, e.g. lack of novelty or lack of inventive step, by the patent office and possible deficiencies have been remedied, the patent is granted.
By means of the patent, the patentee is able to prohibit third parties, in particular competitors, from using the invention commercially. Thus, for the duration of the patent, due to said prohibitive right the patentee enjoys a fundamental competitive edge vis-à-vis his competitors. It is therefore not uncommon for patents to form a considerable part of the assets of a company.
The protection conferred by a patent is defined by the claims which are to be interpreted in light of the specification. Therefore, the wording of the claims is of essential importance for the usefulness of the patent. In this connection it is also to be taken into account that after the filing of the patent application it is no longer possible to add further information, which means that the maximum possible scope of protection is already defined by the application documents.