IP Support

Protecting research results is often a crucial step in the valorization cycle as it provides a competitive advantage to the owner of these results. The IP and Licensing team advises on how to protect inventions and develops an appropriate IP protection strategy.

before your research results are made public, whether through publication or presentation

1. Submit your invention to the IP team

In order to start the evaluation process, an invention disclosure form should be completed and sent to the IP department of TechTransfer. Based on this document, the IP advisor will evaluate whether patent protection of the research results is feasible (novel/ inventive/ industrially applicable) and opportune (market potential/enforceability) or whether other types of IP protection are more appropriate. 

Patent prosecution at Ghent University

2. Priority Filing to set the priority date

The patent procedure starts by drafting and filing of a priority patent application (usually European or US application). As soon as the priority patent application is filed, the related research results can be made public. However, one should bear in mind that publication of the research results should be limited to those results explicitly stated in the patent application. In case of doubt, please contact the IP team before publishing.

Starting from the filing date of the priority patent application (the so-called “priority date”), one has one year to extend the application and file corresponding patent application(s) making use of the priority date. During this one-year period the patent office usually issues a Search Report which gives an overview of the relevant prior art documents, i.e. documents made public before the priority date, which could destroy the patentability of the invention. This search report is one of the key elements allowing the IP experts to decide whether or not to extend  the patent application after the first year.

 

3. PCT filing: international application

When it is decided to extend the priority application, a corresponding international application (PCT) is usually filed. Eighteen months after the priority date, the patent application will be published (International publication).

Starting from the priority date, one has 30 months to decide in which countries the PCT application will be continued. This 30-months’ deadline is an important milestone in the patent procedure. Because large costs are involved upon entry of the PCT application into the national/regional phase, an industrial partner is preferably identified within this time period.

4. National and Regional Application

After this 30-months’ period, the PCT application is converted into a set of national/regional patent applications and the applications are evaluated by the national/regional patent offices, such as the European Patent Office (EPO) and the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). After said evaluation the patent offices may decide to grant the patent. The time span between entry and grant of the patent is difficult to predict, but typically ranges between 4 and 6 years from the priority date.