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A patent is a form of legal protection that allows the owner of a discovery or an inventor, to exclude others from using it without permission for an extended period of time. In other words, you own the right to prevent others from using your invention without your permission. It is a government granted monopoly.

Jamaica is a signatory nation to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. According to the Paris Convention, an applicant for a patent in any of the signatory countries may later file the same patent application in any of the other signatory countries and receive the benefit of the filing date of the first country. What this means is that the later-filed application in the foreign country will be treated as if it were filed in that country on the same date that it was filed in the original country.

This only applies if the later-filed application is filed within one year of the original filing date. This deadline is important and is not extendable.

The grant of patent gives the owner (either the original inventor or assignee) the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing the invention. Strategic patents may allow a company exclusive control over a certain market segment. Therefore, certain steps should be taken to ensure that these right are protected.

A patent owner may elect to license others to make, use, sell or import the invention. A patent license is sometimes a viable option to a patent holder who wishes to commercialise the patent but does not have the resources to do so.

Methods used to divide patent rights in a license include:

  •     The entire term of the patent or a lesser amount of time
  •     The grant of exclusives or non-exclusive use
  •     Limitation to a field of use; and
  •     Limitations to a specific geographic area.

A patent holder may receive payment in a lump sum, a continuing royalty or a combination of both. Royalties may be determined according to sales volume, unit volume, or other agreed approaches. Patent licenses are governed by general contract law as well as patent and antitrust laws.

Under United States’ Patent law, the initial rights to a patent accrue to the first person to invent the invention. This is unlike most others countries, where patent rights are awarded to the first person to file a patent application. This unique aspect of U.S. patent law makes the date of the invention important in U.S. patent practice.

Specifically, when a patent application claims the same subject matter as another pending application or an issued patent, a contest to determine the first inventor, may be declared by the examiner.

There are different types of patents as well as different time-frames for protection. i.e. when the patent protection begins and when it ends.




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