Some small businesses started from an invention or innovative idea one has turned into a product.
Examples of inventive Filipino entrepreneurs abound.
Benjamin Almeda of Tondo, Manila put up Almeda Cottage Industries in the 1950s, based on devices and gadgets he developed for the food-processing industry. These include the rice grinder, coconut grater, meat grinder, ice shaver, and many more. The business has since prospered and is now known as Almeda Food Machineries, Inc., now being run by second-generation Almedas.
There are many others like Almeda. You may be one of them. Like him, you may have in mind commercializing your invention. Way to go! It is a good way of starting a business.
One of the first things an inventor must do, before going into business with his invention, is to protect it from those who might want to copy or misuse it. How? By getting a patent on it.
What is a patent?
A patent is a right granted by the government for exclusive ownership for any device, process, substance, or method that is new, inventive and useful.
A patent is an intellectual property and gives the owner the right to stop others from making, using or selling his invention, without his express permission.
A patent can be secured for machines, articles of manufacture, methods, processes, compositions of matter (e.g. chemicals), any field of human activity which is new or involves an inventive step and is industrially applicable.
Also patentable are industrial designs (those that have to do with the appearance of useful objects like furniture, buildings, etc.) and utility models (a technical solution of a problem in any field of human activity that is new and has industrial use).
In the Philippines, invention patents are valid for a term of 20 years. However, a patent shall cease to be in force and effect if any prescribed annual fee is not paid within the prescribed time or if the patent is cancelled in accordance with the provisions of the Intellectual Property Code.
The government agency that registers patents is the Bureau of Patents of the Intellectural Property Office, which has offices in the IPO Building, Senator Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City.
Basically, the patent application should be in English or Filipino and shall include the following:
1. Request for a grant of patent
2. Specifications containing the following:
a. Title of the Invention
b. Disclosure and description of the invention
c. Drawings necessary for the understanding of the invention
d. A brief explanation of the drawings, if any
e. A distinct and explicit claim or claims of the invention
f. An abstract
3. Priority claim, if any
4. Power of Attorney
5. Filing fees
If the application satisfies the requirements, then a filing date is granted. The date of filing is very important under the “first-to-file” system because it serves to determine who has the right to the patent in case another applicant files for registration of the same invention.
The application together with the list of published patent applications or issued patents for inventions identical to those claimed by the application, will then be published in the IPO Gazette. Upon publication, any person may give feedback in in writing concerning the patentability of the invention.
When the patent is approved, the grant is published in the IPO Gazette within six months from approval. Any interested party may inspect the complete description, claims, and drawings of the patent on file with the Office.
Processing fee is from Php 1,380 to P2,760.
Photo: from http://www.cpu.edu.ph/news/Patent.php