Innovation patents currently exist in parallel to standard patents and enable protection of inventions that do not necessarily meet the inventive step threshold for standard patents. They are also a quick and relatively inexpensive way of obtaining strong patent rights, as they are harder to invalidate.
The process of phasing out the innovation patent has, however, unfortunately begun.
I have an innovation patent already – what does this mean for me?
Existing innovation patents, and innovation patents filed on or prior to 25 August 2021 will continue their full term (provided that renewal fees are paid). You do not need to take any new action to keep your existing innovation patents in force.
Certification of innovation patents remains unchanged and may be performed at any time during the life of the innovation patent.
I have a standard patent application – what does that mean for me?
Standard patent applications filed on or prior to 25 August 2021 will be able to converted to innovation patents at any time. Innovation patents have a term of 8 years, and as such, this conversion must be done prior to the end of term of the innovation patent, calculated as if the standard patent had been originally filed as an innovation patent.
Divisional innovation patent applications will also be able to be filed provided that the parent application is currently pending, and was filed on or prior to 25 August 2021.
I have an idea – what does that mean for me?
The last day you will be able to file a “new” innovation patent will be 25 August 2021.
Even if you wish to file a standard patent application, it is beneficial to file such application on or prior to 25 August 2021. In particular, if you file the standard patent application prior to the cut-off date, this gives you the option to file a divisional innovation patent application at a later stage. This can be particularly useful if enforcing your rights against an infringer.