1. How can anyone protect an invention in Greece?
An invention is granted legal protection only when protected by a Patent or a Utility Model Certificate. The Industrial Property Organisation is the legally qualified institution for the exclusive grant of such protection titles.
2. What is a patent?
A Patent is a protection title with a duration of 20 years. It is granted to the patentee for any invention which is new, involves an inventive step and is susceptible of industrial application.
3. Which is the procedure for the filing of a patent application?
1. For the grant of a patent an application shall be filed with OBI including:
a. Full name or name of legal entities, nationality, residence or seat, and address of the applicant; b. Description of the invention and determination of one or more claims. By claim shall be held in the present law the extent and the content of the requested protection; c. A request for the grant of a patent.
2. The application shall be accompanied by the drawings referred to in the claims or the description, an abstract of the invention, the explanations for the proper understanding of the description, and the documents empowering the applicant to act in case of a legal entity or in case of a natural person if he/she is not the inventor. It shall be further accompanied by the receipts evidencing payment of the application fee and of the first annual renewal fee.
3. The application may relate either to a single or to multiple inventions so linked as to form a single general concept. If the application is related to several inventions (compound application) the applicant may, up to the date of grant of the patent, divide the application into more than one divisional applications, maintaining the filing date of the initial application as filing date of each divisional application.
4. The application shall be accented for filing provided that it meets the terms laid down in paragraph 1 and that it is accompanied by the receipts of the filing fee and the first annual renewal fee. In this case the filing of the application shall be considered as orderly filed but not complete.
5. Within a period of four months from the filing date, the applicant should submit any missing drawings or other supporting documents, complete any lacking data, and correct any eventual errors in the draft of the documents and of other supporting documentation. In this case the filing of the application shall be considered complete.
6. The date of the orderly filing of the application is considered as the filing date of the application.
3. What is a Utility Model Certificate?
A Utility Model Certificate is a protection title with a duration of 7 years. It is granted to the holder of the right for a three-dimensional object with definite shape and form, capable of giving a solution to a technical problem and proposed as novel and industrially applicable.
4. Status of the protection granted by a Patent or a Utility Model Certificate
A Patent or a Utility Model Certificate confer on their owner the exclusive right to produce, use, sell and in general to exploit their invention in Hellas. In this way, they exclude any third party from any exploitation of their invention.
5. What happens if a third party copies or exploits an invention already protected by a Patent or a Utility Model Certificate?
The owner has the right to require from the Hellenic courts that the infringement of the Patent or the Utility Model Certificate ceases and that no infringement be committed in the future. On the understanding of law, the owner is entitled to demand reparation of the damage or surrender of the profits obtained from the illegal exploitation of the invention. Alternatively, an amount equal to the value of a license of such exploitation may be demanded. The court may additionally order the destruction of the products manufactured by the third party in violation of the provisions of the law. The court may also order, instead of the destruction, that the products or a part thereof be surrendered to the holder at the request of the latter.
6. What is likely to occur when an invention has not been protected by a Patent or a Utility Model Certificate?
Any third party may apply first for a Patent a Utility Model Certificate for the same invention, in which case it is granted the exclusive right to exploit the invention, excluding there -from any other, even you, or simply start exploiting the invention without having been granted the right deriving from the Patent or a Utility Model Certificate, thus disclosing the invention to the public. As a result, any third party, even you, is excluded from being granted the exclusive right.
7. Can an invention be protected by a Patent or a Utility Model Certificate?
Patents and Utility Model Certificates cover any invention which can be productively applied to any field of human activity. However, there are cases which are not covered by one of the above protection titles, as stated in the law, such as discoveries, scientific theories, mathematical methods, aesthetic creations etc.
8. How can you exploit a Patent or a Utility Model Certificate?
- either exploit productively your invention yourself without any competition thanks to the exclusive right granted to you.
- or transfer the protection title to a third party against an agreed compensation.
- or again grant to another person or persons a license to work the patent against an agreed compensation. In this case you still hold your exclusive right.
9. Is there a fee for obtaining a Patent or a Utility Model Cerificate?
The rights deriving from the protection titles are granted and remain in force upon payment of the respective fees to OBI.
10. What is the right way to protect your invention abroad?
By filing a complete application for a Patent or a Utility Model Certificate with OBI you are entitled to claim priority over any other person for the grant of a Patent or a Utility Model Certificate for the same invention in all member – states of the Paris Convention. You have a period of 12 months since the date of the filing, to file application with the countries which may be of interest by claiming the Hellenic priority.
For filing an application abroad you have the choice of:
- filing a complete application directly with the country of your interest.
- filing a complete application for a European Patent after selecting among the 38 member – states of the Munich Convention you wish to receive protection in.
- filing a complete international application (PCT: Patent Cooperation Treaty). In this way you have the choice to file a patent application with any of the 146 member – states of the PCT.
OBI contributes substantially to the procedure of the last two cases as it operates as a receiving office for the respective applications.