Patents / Utility Models / Design / Trademarks / The Protection of Geographic Indications and Designations of Origin of Products / Copyright / Domain Names / Topographies of Semiconductor Products / Protection of Plant Varieties / Trade Secret / Unfair Competition Law
Czech and European Patent Prosecution / European Patent / European Patent extension and validation / International patent application / Foreign patent application based on Paris Convention period / Supplementary Protection Certificate
The patent-related services we provide to our clients include:
Our major area of endeavor is patent application work, including patent searching, preparation and filing of patent applications in the Czech Republic Industrial Property Office in the European Patent Office and through Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).
- Developing and executing prosecution strategies not only to protect a client's products, but also to analyse those of its competitors to help ensure that the client realizes value from its intellectual property assets;
- Patent, Europatent, PCT and SPC Application Preparation and Prosecution;
- Advise on whether a patent can be granted;
- International patent protection and national phases;
- Civil litigation at both the trial and appellate levels, including infringement and dilution cases, counterfeiting, grey-market goods, false advertising, and cyber squatting;
- Industrial Property Office and European Patent Office litigation, including oppositions and cancellation proceedings;
- Preparing and negotiating licenses, assessing the licensing value of competitors' patents, and guiding the client in the decision to license;
- Monitoring the field to know when a client needs a clearance opinion or has a potential interference issue. These efforts can help direct the client in research and development areas that minimize patent obstacles;
- Providing counsel on business-related matters, including antitrust and competition issues;
- Advising on potential litigation strategies, and, when necessary, deploying experienced trial and appellate teams;
Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter or any new and useful improvement thereof may obtain a patent.
Inventions which are new, involve an inventive step, and are suitable for industrial application" may constitute the object matter of a patent.
It is generally only through patent protection that others can be prevented from copying one's inventions. Our goal is to obtain the best possible patent protection for our clients at a reasonable cost.
Our firm have the technical expertise in many diverse areas of today and tomorrow to help our clients protect their intellectual property.
We can file for patents abroad. We also do a significant amount of work for patent firms and other clients in foreign countries who need patent representation in the Czech Republic or in the European Community
We will work with you to determine the optimum strategy for obtaining protection. This includes advice concerning the use of the European Patent Convention (EPC) and the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) in order to defer costs and maintain the maximum flexibility in selecting the countries where protection is to be sought. We also offer a full "national phase" service in all member states of the EPC for clients seeking patent protection through that Convention.
We have technical specialists in virtually every field where patents may be obtained. We can also advise on analogous rights and know-how in such areas as computer software, bio-tech, plant patent, utility model, copyright and design right issues.
Small Improvements Can Have a Large Impact!
Czech and European Patent Prosecution
Preparation and prosecution of patent applications, both in the EU, Czech Republic and abroad, is the basis for the firm's practice at its founding, and has been significant in its client services ever since.
We act for clients before the Czech and European Patent Offices in all matters relating to patents. We manage and prosecute international patent programmes both by direct national and European applications and by international applications via the Patent Cooperation Treaty PCT. We advise on the most cost effective and appropriate filing strategy in each case.
The European patent system is a procedure by which a single patent application my be filed at the European Patent Office under the European Patent Convention ("EPC") to obtain patents in a number of European countries.
European Patent may be filed through our firm directly to the European Patent Office in Munich or at the Czech Patent Office in Prague. On completion of the central grant procedure the patent has to be validated in the individual designated countries by submitting translations if necessary.
Within nine months as from the grant a European patent may be opposed centrally at the European Patent Office, later only in the individual designated countries. The maximum period of protection is 20 (+5) years; maintenance in the individual countries is realized separately.
European Patent extension and validation
Validation European Patent in the Czech Republic requires translation of the publication of the European Patent and filing in respective Industrial Property Office.
Office allows filing claim(s) translation before granting, after filing date of European Patent.
If the EP application is refused, it is still possible to file a utility model application in the Czech Republic.
To allow cost reduction and most effective uniform translation, European or International Patent Applications can be extended and validated in the Czech Republic and Slovak Republic by our firm in a single action as well as in this case is issued a single debit note with both Validations Documents and Receipt.
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International patent application
In addition to applying for a patent in the EU state, you should consider seeking patent protection in other countries. By filing an international application or applications in selected countries, you can expand the potential market for your invention.
An international application via the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT => Patent Cooperative Treaty; available for multi-country filing) can preserve your options to pursue patents in over 150 countries around the world. If filed within 1 year of your first filed priority patent and/or utility model application, you can have up to 31 months from your priority filing date to apply for patents and/or utility models in these countries. International patent applications may be filed directly at the World Intellectual Property Organisation in Geneva or through Czech Industrial Property Office.
Foreign patent application based on Paris Convention period
Foreign patent protection will enable you to prevent others from profiting from your idea in other countries. Many countries will allow you to claim priority from your national application. If you apply for a national patent (or filed a utility model application), we recommend filing foreign patent applications within one year at the latest from the earliest relied on filing date of your national patent application (Paris Convention period). The proper foreign protection for your invention will depend upon your business plan.
Filing in foreign countries not only increases your patent protection but also increases the market value of your idea, particularly to companies that import and export their products. Furthermore, if you plan to be the exclusive source of the invention and intend to manufacture your product overseas, you should definitely want to file for patent protection in those countries.
Supplementary Protection Certificate (SPC)
The Czech and many foreign law regulation provides additional protection for patented pharmaceutical products or plant-protective agents. The validity period of the patent has been extended by the amount of time necessary to obtaining a marketing licence from the competent authorities decreased by 5 years, i.e. this provides for a longer patent protection whereby the normal 20-year period of validity of the patent may be extended to at least 25 years. The supplementary protection certificate must be requested within 6 months of the date of first authorisation to market the product as a medicinal product or the date of grant of the patent, whichever is the latest.
The legal effect of a supplementary protection certificate is substantially the same as that of the patent upon which it is based.
Our international presence and our network of associate Intellectual Property firms around the globe allow us to move swiftly to protect our clients' ideas almost anywhere on Earth.
A utility model protects functional aspects of an invention and, once issued, lasts for 10 years from its filing date. After filing this application, you may want to file a PCT international application to test marketplace interest in your invention. It will give you up to a year of additional "patent pending" status. By doing this, you could benefit from as much as 21 years of combined priority registered utility model/patent pending status.
Novel, commercially usable inventions of lesser inventive merit than patents may be protected for a maximum period of 10 years.
Examination is only for formal requirements, not for novelty and inventive merit; however, a search concerning the prior art is carried out to which the scope of protection claimed may be adapted.
If desired, a utility model application may be converted into a patent application prior to publication. Otherwise analogous provisions as to patents and patent applications apply.
Scope of protection / International design protection / Community design registration
A registered design will give the proprietor a monopoly in the appearance of his design as applied to a particular article. A design must, of course, be new to be registrable, but disclosure of the design outside the Czech Republic does not constitute a bar.
A registered design subsists initially for 5 years from application, and this term can be extended to a total of 25 years. Renewal reminders can be sent directly from our office.
Scope of protection
The scope of the protection shall be given by the representation of the industrial design as it is registered except features being predestined by the technical function of the design, or which must necessarily be reproduced in exact form and dimensions, in order to permit the product, in which the industrial design is incorporated or to which it is applied to be mechanically connected to or placed in, round or against another product, so that either product may perform its function.
Like patents, registered design protection is essentially territorial and it is necessary to obtain a registration in each country of interest.
An international convention allows the applicant to file in convention countries within 6 months of his initial application date.
Our firm is able to offer advice on the various options which are frequently available for the prosecution of design protection. We file the Czech Republic priority design applications, co-ordinate foreign filings worldwide and advise on the enforcement of those rights.
International design registration
The filing of a national industrial design application generates a priority date, which can be claimed to support corresponding design applications filed abroad within six months of the national filing date. It is also possible for the national design application to claim priority from a foreign filing.
Community design registration
The Community design regulation provides for a single community design registration, without any separate formalities in each State, which will be enforceable in all of the countries of the European Union. It also provides for short term (3 years) unregistered design protection.
From April 1, 2003 a Registered Community Design provides, through a simple, single, low cost registration, the opportunity to acquire a monopoly for your designs for up to 25 years in all member states of the EU.
We can deal with all aspects of filing an application and obtaining a registration of a design on your behalf. To enable us to prepare documents for filing an application, we need drawings or photographs showing all features of the design. Alternatively, if a specimen or model is available, we can prepare drawings or photographs from it.
In the context of intellectual property, the design of an article is generally its shape or ornamentation applied to it. Essentially, the design of a product relates to its appearance, rather than to technical principles of its construction or operation.
Search / National Trade Mark / International Trade Mark / Community Trade Mark
Keeping your good name safe around the world
Today more than ever a business's unique identity, reputation, and brand provide tangible return on investment and a critical competitive advantage.
We offer our clients a full range of trade mark services:
A trade mark is an item of property that can be extremely valuable to its owner. It is the principal means of product recognition. It facilitates repeat purchases by satisfied customers.
- Developing, selection, clearance and executing prosecution strategies not only to protect a client's products, but also to analyze those of its competitors to help ensure that the client realizes value from its intellectual property assets;
- Advise on whether a trade mark can be registered;
- Prosecution and maintenance;
- Counseling, including portfolio management;
- International trade mark protection;
- Preparing and negotiating licenses, assessing the licensing value of competitors' trade marks, and guiding the client in the decision to license;
- Civil litigation at both the trial and appellate levels, including infringement and dilution cases, counterfeiting, gray-market goods, false advertising, and cyber squatting;
- Industrial Property Office litigation, including oppositions and cancellation proceedings;
- Advise on domain name issues and trade mark registration
Trade marks may be registered to protect the goodwill associated with a mark. The mark must not conflict with any existing traders and should not be descriptive of the product or service. To be registrable a trade mark must be capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one party from those of other parties.
As trade mark attorney, it is our role to advise and assist our clients along each step of the way from the selection of a suitable mark, to its clearance for registration and use and its protection in the markets of present and potential future interest. We also offer considerable expertise in the subsequent exploitation and enforcement of trade mark rights, ensuring that our clients are able to maintain a commercial advantage over their competitors.
Exclusive rights to use a trade mark are obtained by registration. The effects of registration commence on the date on which the application is filed, and last for ten years. Once registered, a trade mark can usually be kept in force for as long as is required, subject only to the payment of renewal fees to keep the registration in force.
We can also advise on selecting a trade mark for your product or service. This work typically involves conducting a clearance search for the trade mark you are considering adopting or purchasing. The search will determine whether anyone else is using the same or a similar mark. We will give you an opinion as to whether you have the right to use your proposed trade mark, and what risks might be encountered in going forward with your proposed trade mark.
National Trade Mark
A registration of a trade mark is to be requested by filing an application at the Czech Industrial Property Office. After filing with the Office, the application is examined for legal conformity and a report on prior registered marks which are deemed to be similar is prepared. However, the same or similar prior trade marks are no obstacle to registration.
International Trade Mark
An international trade mark may be registered on the basis of a national trade mark at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) through the original registration office for a plurality of countries, having the same effects in each of these countries as a national trade mark.
Community Trade Mark
A Community Trade Mark is a unitary mark which covers the whole of the European Community. Applications for Community trade marks may be filed with the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market. After an examination for conformity with the law these are first published for possible opposition and ultimately, when all requirements for registration are met, registered. After filing of a single application, this protection automatically extends to all member countries of the European Union. Any party can apply for a Community Trade Mark.
You can establish national rights by using and seeking to register a mark or you can reserve it nationwide by filing an International application stating that you intend to use the mark.
Our international presence and our network of associate law firms around the globe allow us to move swiftly to protect our clients' marks anywhere on the Earth.
There are a number of ways in which trade marts can be protected, please contact us.
The Protection of Geographic Indications and Designations of Origin of Products
This Law regulates the relations formed in connection with registration, protection and use of product (services) appellations of origin and geographical indications.
The protection refers to all types of products which owe their specific properties or peculiarities to the geographic environment including natural conditions or production traditions of a given country, or region whose geographic name is the appellation of origin for the product.
The designation of the product with the place of origin takes its tradition in the far past. This can be explained by the natural desire of the producer to indicate the especial features and quality conditioned by the specific geographical disposition. Here must be marked, that the high quality and reputation of such products, on the one hand, and non-existence of special laws in the conditions of developing the production and widening the trade relations scale, on the other hand, resulted in uncontrolled use of the well-known names in various countries of the world.
The appellation of origin and geographical indication, as well as the trade mark, are used to designate the product, but they by their essence are completely different objects.
If the trade mark is a property of a natural person or a legal entity and the regulation of the relations is prerogative of the private law, the instructions of recognition and use of the appellations of origin and geographical indications relate to the public law sphere.
As an appellations of origin and geographical indication shall not be registered the names, which have become the generic names and which is likely to mislead the consumer as to its origin, contradicts to the national dignity, religion and traditions, public morality and order.
The right to use a geographical indication, obtained by registration, shall belong to the members of the association entered on the list communicated to the Intellectual Property Office. The right to use a geographical indication may not be transferred.
Copyright is a form of protection which arises automatically whenever an original work is created. It protects many different types of original work.
Copyright is more usually though of as applying to books, music, films, etc. However in the area of industry and commerce there is some overlap between design right and copyright. Copyright is an unregistered right that applies in the Czech Republic and EU.
Under present law, copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years.
The author is the natural person who has created the work.
The copyright to a work which has been produced until the time of the completion of the work as a single work by the creative activity of two or more authors (work by joint authors) shall belong to all the joint authors jointly and inseparably. The establishment of a work by joint authors shall not be prejudiced if the creative contributions to the work by the individual joint authors can be distinguished, unless such contributions are capable of being used independently. Copyright shall include exclusive moral rights and exclusive economic rights.
Copyright shall not be infringed by whoever
the name of the author, unless the work is an anonymous work, or the name of the person under whose name the work is being introduced in public must however always be indicated; the title of the work and source must also be indicated.
- quotes, to a justified degree, in his own work, excerpts from the published works of other authors,
- includes into his independent scientific, critical or technical work, or into a work designated for teaching purposes, for the clarification of its content, small published works in their entirety,
- uses a published work in a lecture exclusively for scientific, teaching or other instructive or educational purposes;
Copyright shall not be infringed by whoever records or expresses by drawing, painting, graphic art, photography or film a work located on a square, in a street, in a park, on a public route or in any other public place; the author's consent shall not be needed also for the reproduction, dissemination and communication to the public of the work recorded or expressed by such means.
In order to protect your goodwill in this new internet market you require a registered trade mark. Without a registration there is very little that can be done to stop others from infringing your rights.
The domain name relates to your web site and may only stop others from having the same site name. But here there are a number of variables; "anyname.com" which has international status means no one else can have "this.com" address but it can be used by others for national addresses i.e. "anyname.xx", "anyname.cz" or "anyname.??" for "XXstate" and the Czech Republic respectively. Famous names such as IBM can only be registered as a domain name by its trade marks owners.
Our company is handling domain name disputes; negotiating acquisition of domain names; providing advice regarding protection of domain names and trade marks used on web sites; filing trade mark applications for Internet-related brands; and preparing licenses relating to the use of trade marks on web sites.
Domain names are now being registered not only to serve as addresses for websites, but frequently to also try and secure such addresses to prevent others from being able to use the similar domain name. Domain names are generally registered on a first come first served basis and regulation over entitlement to claim a name is still very much in its infancy.
We will work with you to develop a domain name and trade mark strategy, including searches, registering domain names and advising on issues relating to the management of your domain name portfolio.
With the possible implementation of additional top level domain names, it is more important than ever to obtain trade mark protection of a domain name in order to protect a valuable asset. Additionally, it will help to prevent confusion and dilution of a valuable domain name.
We can assist with the registration of domain names and, if required we can help with the setting up of an associated brief web site to consolidate protective rights.
EXAMPLE: REGISTERED TRADE MARK for the followings:
www. your_firm_name.com ®
http://www. your_firm_name.com ®
Topographies of Semiconductor Products
Three-dimensional structures of microelectronic semiconductor products may - as far as they have distinctive features, i.e. are not ordinary - be protected by filing applications with the Czech Industrial Property Office and registration in the Semiconductor Protection Register.
The Directive gives legal definition of the notions, "semiconductor", "topography" and "commercial use". It introduces the obligation to give legal protection to the topographies in so far as the latter are product of intellectual efforts and are not in common use in the semiconductor industry. The right is granted alternatively by registration or first use, defining the range of persons who are entitled to register and protect the topography of semiconductors. The period of protection is set at 10 years beginning either from the end of the calendar year in which the topography has first been used in trade in any part of the world or, under the registration scheme, from the end of the calendar year in which the application for registration has been filed.
Within the registration scheme, the right originates from the date on which the application has been filed.
Protection of Plant Varieties
The original breeder or his successor in title may obtain a registered property right for plant varieties which are distinguishable, homogenous, persistent and novel.
A Registration of plant varieties protects the rights of an individual who is first to appreciate the distinctive qualities of a plant and reproduces it asexually (by means other than seeds).
Applying for plant variety certificates
We can advise on applying for plant variety protection in the Czech Republic, EU and overseas and on infringement, validity and licenses granted under such rights.
Plant variety rights
A plant or plant variety right may be obtained in relation to a new botanical genus or species by registration with the appropriate authority. In the Czech Republic, the right is granted under the Plant Varieties Act 1999.
A community plant variety right is obtainable which has effect in all member states of the European Community. This right is granted by the European Plant Variety Office.
We are fully qualified to advise on obtaining, enforcement and exploitation of all forms of Intellectual Property Rights.
In all cases, professional assistance should be obtained to ensure the best protection.
Our firm can provide wide services in trade secret protection to our clients. Dealings with ex-employees, customers and competitors constantly put a company's valuable trade secrets at risk. Many businesses, however, fail to take the basic steps necessary to protect their trade secrets. In helping our clients protect their valuable intangible assets, we start by providing a detailed evaluation of whether the client company is adequately protecting its trade secrets and confidential information. Then, we help implement a customized program for better protection of the assets.
We have the necessary legal and technical resources to provide a comprehensive range of trade secrets services, including:
- identifying trade secrets that can be protected;
- reviewing methods for preserving secrecy and security;
- drafting appropriate contracts with employees and third parties.
The trade name should be registered with the Commercial Register where the business is organized. One benefit of having a trade name is that no other organization can transact business under the same or deceptively similar name to the registered trade name. A trade mark can also be used to prevent another organization from registering a similar trade name.
Unfair Competition Law
Unfair competition laws protect competitors from the unlawful conduct of their business rivals. As examples, unfair competition laws prohibit interference with business relationships, disparagement, and defamation, invasion of privacy, palming off, plagiarism, unfair competition, deceptive trade practices, fraud, misrepresentation, and other related conduct. Many unfair competition issues arise in conjunction with infringement or misappropriation of intellectual property.
We can obtain many favourable decisions for our clients enjoining unfair competitive acts such as copying of our clients' distinctive product shapes (product configurations), packaging (trade dress) and names (trade mark)...