An International Guide to
Patent Case Management for Judges

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3.1.2 Types of patents

There are two types of patents. An invention patent protects a creation resulting from the exercise of creative capacity that represents a new solution to a technical problem existing within a given technological field and that can be manufactured. Inventions may refer to industrial products (e.g., compounds, compositions, objects, apparatus and devices) and industrial activities (e.g., processes and methods). An invention is patentable when it simultaneously meets three basic requirements: novelty, inventive step and industrial application (Article 8 of the LPI). Invention patents provide protection to creations of a technical nature that aim at a particular technical effect. The term of protection of this type of patent is 20 years from the date of filing.

An object of practical use (or part thereof) is patentable as a utility model if it is susceptible of industrial application, has a new form or arrangement, and involves an inventive act, that together result in functional improvement in the object’s use or manufacture (Article 9 of the LPI). This object must be three-dimensional (e.g., instruments, utensils and tools). The term of protection for this type of patent is 15 years from the date of filing.

Additionally, the applicant or holder of an invention patent may request, upon payment of a specific fee, a certificate of addition of invention to protect an improvement or development introduced in the object of the invention, even if it lacks inventive step, as long as the subject matter is included within the same inventive concept (Article 76 of the LPI). The application for a certificate of addition is rejected if its subject matter does not present the same inventive concept (Article 76(3) of the LPI).

The certificate of addition is an accessory to the patent; it has the same expiration date as the patent and follows the patent for all legal purposes (Article 77 of the LPI). In nullity proceedings, the holder may request that the matter contained in the certificate of addition be examined to verify the possibility of its subsistence, without prejudice to the patent’s term (Article 77(1) of the LPI).