What is a patent? The Importance of a patent!
A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for detailed public disclosure of an invention. An invention is a solution to a specific technological problem and a product or a process.
The exclusive right granted to a patentee in most of the countries is the right to prevent others, or at least to try to prevent others from commercially making, using, selling, importing or distributing a patented invention without permission.
The inventors, their successors or their assignees become the proprietors of the patent when it is granted.
The ability to assign ownership rights increases the liquidity of a patent as property. Inventors can obtain patents and then sell them to third parties.
It has to be a central goal of basic research to publish gained knowledge in order to be recognized as an inventor, and to be cited in the academic world. However, through publication the novelty of the gained knowledge is destroyed and the commercial rights and benefits cannot be claimed anymore. For technology transfer, both publications as well as patents, are of importance.
There are two approches in order to protect the commercial benefits due to urgency, one for cases you have time and one for very urgent cases.

How to apply for a patent?

Patent Application
If you want to protect your invention with a patent and time is not a limitting factor you can do a search for prior art and carefully write your new patent application.
At the Swiss Patent Office, when you have a permanent residence in Switzerland, you can apply for a patent on your own. For applying for a European patent application you need to have a residence in Europe. If you have no residence in Europe, a European Patent Attorney has to submit your patent application at the European Patent Office.
Please contact a patent specialist on how to write a patent application and on how to apply for a patent before the desired patent office in case of uncertainty and questions.

Prior Art Search
You can do a prior art search in the following patent data bases (no fees and open access) - in case of uncertainty please contact a search specialist.
*  the Swiss Patent Office is offering an accompanied patent search by a search expert from the Swiss Patent Office for half a day - costs approx. CHF 350; please contact
**Also a low cost alternative is to file a German patent application in German (official fees at the German Patent Office Euro 400++) which delivers a detailed search report after 18 months with respect to prior art. But if you have no residence in Europe you have to look for a European Patent Attorney to submit a patent application.

How to apply for a patent in urgent cases
In order to ease up the conflict of publishing vs patenting you can apply for a provisional US patent application. 
A provisional US patent application is giving you an early and effective application day and provides a lower-cost first patent filing in US (official fees at the US Patent Office approx. US$ 400).
A provisional US patent application does not require to have a formal patent claim or declaration. It should not include any prior art because the provisional US patent application is not examined (no search report!). Within a 12 months period from the application day of the provisional US patent application a non-provisional patent application has to be filed.
A provisional US patent application can be done within 24hrs prior to publication, or talk, and one has one year to file a patent application in US or a PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty).
Members of Swissphotonics NTN are encouraged to use the local support structures for IP protection, Technology Transfer and Start-Up support.
For independent support and help in finding resources please contact Dr Antje Rey(504f93 u(22e#2 p756i400t', m/art#eyp+@ew4blq'umr$.cm-hk) and Dr Christoph Harder (*07g69 d-21v89 s990y)51w( -b1 hm/are(deo4r@p-swn(isq'sph%hoq2tol7nio0csi+.nm#etj).
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