The data on patents applied and granted in Finland are based on figures from the National Board of Patents and Registration database. The data on international patenting are drawn from the OECD patent database European Patent Office annual reports. Regional and country data are based on information for the patent inventor unless otherwise stated. Annual data for international patenting are based on the patent application’s priority date.
A patent is an exclusive right commercially to exploit an invention granted by the relevant authority for a limited period (usually 20 years) to the inventor or the holder of the inventor’s rights. A patent is issued on condition that the invention is new and innovative, i.e. based on non-obvious information and had industrial application. The counterbalance to the exclusive right to commercial exploitation of the invention is the entry of the patent into the public domain. The patent applicant is required to disclose all material information concerning the invention. Indeed, the requirement of publicity is one of the most important features of the patenting system.
Date of priority is the first date on which a patent application has been filed for the invention concerned in any country.
Priority country is the country where a patent application is first filed. This is usually the applicant’s country of residence.
Date of publication is the date when the information relating to the patent application becomes public, which is usually 18 months after the date of priority.
Date of issuance is the date on which the patent authority issues the patent. Patent protection obtained for an invention is effective retroactively from the date of application. In Finland the processing of a patent application takes about 2-2½ years, at the European Patent Office around 5 years and in the United States Patent and Trademark Office three years.
Triadic patent families is a patent indicator developed by the OECD which combines the patents granted by the three biggest patent authorities (in Europe, the US and Japan) to the same invention. This is done on the basis of the patent’s priority or priorities. The aim is to avoid overlapping calculations and to reduce the impact of the number of domestic applications. A patent granted by all three patent offices also serves as an indicator of an internationally valuable and important invention
The European Patent Convention (EPC) The European Patent Convention was signed in 1973 and it came into force in 1977. The convention led to the foundation of the European Patent Office (EPO), which grants European patents. Currently 30 countries have acceded to the Convention. In addition, there are six extension states to which a European patent can be extended on separate application.
A single application filed with the European Patent Office suffices to obtain a patent in all designated contracting states. A European patent affords the same rights in these contracting states as a patent granted by a national patent office. The EPO is not an EU institution.
PCT applications are based on the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), which took effect in 1978 and which currently covers 138 countries. At the first stage of filing a PCT application, applicants shall designate the countries in which they wish to file or retain the right to file a patent application with one patent office in a contracting country. The actual processing of the application takes place at the next, regional/national stage. The patent is always granted by a regional (e.g. the European Patent Office) or a national patent authority (In Finland the National Board of Patents and Registration). Administration of PCT applications is in the hands of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).
Source: Patenting 2006. Statistics Finland
Inquiries: Markku Virtaharju (09) 1734 3290
Director in charge: Kaija Hovi
Contents (Patenting 2006)