Chemical, pharmaceutical and biotech companies spend large sums of money to have their employees burn midnight oil and come up with great inventions, whether it be a novel drug to treat heart disease or a process to produce large quantities of a chemical. used in industry. manufacture of a plastic. They know that patents are powerful when it comes to resisting competition. They also know that a patent grants an exclusive right for up to twenty years. So once they get their patent they should be smiling all the way to the bank … correct?
The answer is not always “yes”. The competition will try to unravel the patent and find many ways to discredit it. If companies discover, within five to ten years, that their patent is invalid, then all that investment and related work is going down the drain.
One way a challenger could break the patent is by claiming that you sold the patented invention before applying for a patent. The United States Patent and Trademark Office, like many other patent offices around the world, has strict rules and regulations for filing patents. One of those rules says that you must file your patent within a year of selling your product or offering to sell it. If you want to sell your product abroad, you will need a patent in one or more European countries or in Japan, for example. The European Patent Office has stricter rules than the US Patent and Trademark Office In Europe, you must first file your patent; the sale comes later.
Although inventor companies deliberately do not wait more than a year to file a patent, the question often arises as to when did they start selling. This is because, in modern business life, many parties often work together to create a new product. For example, one company may agree to fund research, while another company may agree to perform laboratory work. There could be multiple exchanges between the two companies, often over a period of 3, 4, or 5 years or more. Without the knowledge of the parties, such exchanges could have triggered the legal sale date or the offer date.
Take the case of the DNA patent where the company obtained a DNA patent to detect gonorrhea. The company that developed the DNA sent a sample to its settlement partner and received payment for it. However, he waited 13 months to file the patent. The superior court of patents in our nation’s capital ruled that the patent is invalid because we waited too long. Patent laws are very complex and therefore it would be wise to seek a competent attorney when filing a patent or if you are considering buying a company with patents or licensing a patent.