Paris Convention: The Paris Convention is a treaty to which around 130 countries wolrdwide are signitories. After first filing a patent application in one of the 130 countries, the Paris Convention provides a 12 months grace period to then file subsequent patent applications for the same invention in one or more of the other countries.
Patent: A patent is a monopoly granted to an inventor by the State for a limited period of time, in exchange for public disclosure of the invention when the patent is published.
Patent Box, The: The Patent Box enables companies in the UK to benefit from a lower rate of Corporation Tax to profits earned after 1 April 2013 from its patented inventions. The relief will be phased in from 1 April 2013 and the lower rate of tax to be applied will be 10 percent. See - The Patent Box.
Patent Attorney: This is a graduate engineer or scientist who has undergone extensive training in practice and has passed a set of professional (legal) exams. A European Patent Attorney is authorised to represent clients before the European Patent Office, and a British Patent Attorney is authorised to represent clients before UKIPO. A Chartered British Patent Attorney is a member of the UK professional governing body, the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (see www.cipa.org.uk) and abides by rules relating to professional conduct.
PCT Application: This is an international patent application that is potentially effective in around 140 countries worldwide. There is no such thing as an international (granted) patent, only an international application. A PCT application undergoes a centralised application process, with filing occuring at a single Receiving Office (e.g. UKIPO) in a single language with payment of fees in a single currency. The application process includes two phases, an initial international phase and a subsequent national/regional phase.
A clear advantage to having a PCT application is that it delays making the decision of where an applicant would ultimately like patent protection until 30mths from the filing (or priority) date of the PCT application, i.e. the national/regional phase. This consequently delays payment of what can be substantial patenting costs until this time too. This extra time is often useful for inventors to seek financial backing, to test the market with a new product, or simply to sell the patent.
Priority: After an initial application has been filed, a second (or third, or fourth...) application may be filed within a set period following the initial filing 'claiming priority'. This priority claim means that subsequently filed applications retain the filing date of the initial application, which affects the prior art that may be officially cited against the applications. For patents, the priority period is 12mths, for designs and trademarks, the period is 6mths.
Prior Art: This is a public disclosure of, for example, an invention or design that has occured before the filing date of an application for an intellectual property right, such as a patent. Typically, it is a written disclosure but it could equally be an oral disclosure. What constitutes 'prior art' very much depends on the intellectual property right in question and the jurisdiction or official body which governs the application process.
Once identified, prior art can be used to prevent the grant of a patent application, or it can be used to invalidate the patent post grant.
Publication (patent): Occurring automatically around 18mths from the filing (or prority) date, this is when the patent application becomes part of the public domain. Publication also marks the point at which provisional protection of an invention begins, which can affect damages obtainable during any subsequent infringement action. Early publication may be requested at any time before 18mths to provide provisional protection in the case of actual or likely infringement.