If you find documents, in particular patent documents, or an identical or similar product,various options are possible
depending on your goal:
- You purchase the product and save the costs of development.
- Do you want to produce the product yourself? Is the product patented? Find out whether there are patents protecting it and if so, in which countries they are valid or whether the protection has already expired (legal status). If the patent is still valid in countries in which you want to conduct business, you need to negotiate with the owner about using his invention. Maybe you can obtain a license to produce it. If the patent is already expired, you can use the technical information freely.
- You can also improve the product. You do not need the permission of the patent owner to improve a patented product. You can also use patent protected information as a foundation from which to pursue your own research and development. What is illegal is commercially using a patented invention. If you wish to market the results of your further development, you need to determine to what extent the rights of the owner of the basic patent– or other patents – might overlap. It may be necessary to pay licensing fees in order to use your invention.
The further development on the invention might also be patentable if you fulfill the necessary conditions. In particular, the further development must be clearly separate from the original invention.
- Or you circumvent the patents you found: You can apply other technologies and solve the problem in a different way. An professional search can show you where you risk infringing on other patents and where you have room to develop for your own invention.
- www.espacenet.com: Millions of patent documents from all over the world are contained in the online database of the European Patent Organisation. You can determine whether a patent is valid and in which country (legal status) by looking at the register of INPADOC legal status. To confirm the information you find, we recommend querying the foreign office. We can gladly assist you with this. Note the information regarding patent register searches.
- www.swissreg.ch: The official publication of Swiss patents, trade marks, and designs contains information on published Swiss applications and Swiss patents as well as granted European patents effective in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
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