You should carefully consider how you can best protect your invention.
If you decide to apply for patent protection, you need to take into consideration the costs. Bear in mind that you have to enforce your patent yourself and that your invention will become known in detail. Also, not every invention needs to be patented. In sectors with very short product cycles, for example, it is not always necessary because by the time the patent will have been granted, new product generations will be coming onto the market.
Consider the following alternatives:
- Secrecy: This is mainly worth considering if the invention is not directly obvious from the finished product. While a patented invention can be freely used by everyone once the patent has expired, keeping it a secret can protect it indefinitely. But a word of caution: others can discover the technical solution and then use it themselves – and even patent it.
- Defensive publication: What if you don't want a patent, but you don't want others to be able to patent the invention either? Then it helps to publish the invention. For example, you can publish it on a publishing platform or you can write an article about it in a journal. It then belongs to the state of the art, which means that it is known and therefore can't be patented. You can continue to use your invention – but so, too, can your competitors.
Platforms where you defensively publish your innovations:
Copyright isn’t a replacement for patent protection. Copyright protects the format, i.e. the expression of a work and not its content.
Software, however, is protected under copyright law (and not under patent law) because a computer program is not a technical solution per se. However, computer-implemented inventions that solve a technical problem – such as the control of a vehicle's anti-lock braking system – can be patented.
Even without an IP right, you are not completely defenceless against counterfeiters. If competitors act unfairly and illegally, for example counterfeit copies of your products that mislead customers, you can take action based on the Federal Act on Unfair Competition (UCA).
European Inventor Award 2021: Swiss researcher in the final
New electronic IP rights administration system for patents and designs from Summer 2021
The IPI ‘Your photo. Your copyright.’ special prize awarded at the LernFilm Festival 2021
CIPCO/IPI ‘Intellectual property law in the age of artificial intelligence’ workshop on 11 June 2021
Swiss Innovation Forum 2020 to be held as an online festival