You'll find the answers to the most important questions here!
I have an idea. What now?
Evaluating what to do with an idea involves thinking about not only whether something is fundamentally protectable but also whether the idea is worth protecting. That's why with our consulting, we always focus on the question of how proprietary property rights can help you to gain an edge over the competition.
Will an initial consultation cost me anything?
To help you turn your ideas into reality, we offer a free initial consultation. This will give you a chance to outline the basic elements of your idea(s), and we will then discuss how you wish to proceed, including offering possible options and the costs associated with pursuing them.
Do I need to apply for protection for all my ideas?
Whether you should apply for property rights for your ideas always depends on whether taking this step can give you a financial advantage over your rivals. We will always use our consultations to talk with you and identify the opportunities or, if applicable, disadvantages that could come with an application for property rights. In the process, we will consider potential third-party rights, market conditions and the coverage and enforceability of any potential property rights.
How can you support my start-up?
In addition to a free initial consultation with Dr. Maximilian Knaus, our expert in start-up consulting, we offer a special start-up program: the WSL Ideas Workshop. Through our WSL Ideas Workshop, we will help you to devise the perfect strategy for property rights for your growing company and tap into potential sources of funding. The WSL Ideas Workshop also includes a special pricing structure tailored specifically to new companies.
How long does it take to get from an idea to a patent?
If we have all the information we need from you, we will generally need only a few weeks to prepare a patent application. However, merely applying will not get you an enforceable patent. Instead, your application will still need to be scrutinized with regard to protectability requirements, such as novelty and inventive activity. The length of time that this scrutiny and patent granting process takes can vary by jurisdiction and technical field, but is usually between one and five years.
Do you offer support internationally as well?
Yes, by all means. Thanks to the network of international partner firms that we have built up over several decades, we can help you to obtain and enforce rights worldwide, no matter whether it's a patent in India or a trademark in Macau. However, we will not only assist you with all the associated official and procedural aspects, but also furnish you with guidelines regarding which countries could be particularly relevant to you and your invention based on our extensive experience.
What exactly do industrial property rights include?
Industrial property rights include technical property rights such as patents, utility models and topographies (property rights for semiconductors) as well as labeling and creative rights such as trademarks or designs. Industrial property rights also include plant breeders' rights, granting holders legally assured entitlement to varieties of plants.
What constitutes an invention?
An invention is a creative undertaking that solves a problem. If this solution concerns a technical field, such as making a machine more efficient or producing a new substance or material, this invention can, in principle, be protected by a patent or utility model.
What constitutes a patent?
A patent grants the holder exclusive rights to his or her invention. This means that the patent holder can prohibit third parties from using the technical solution to the problem that he or she has found, such as a machine with certain features or a substance or material with certain properties. This property right generally lasts for 20 years from the date of application.
What constitutes a trademark?
A trademark is primarily used to label goods or services in accordance with their origins. In other words, a trademark is always a combination of a symbol and a related good or service. The symbol does not have to be a word. For example, a trademark may also be a pictogram or a certain sequence of musical notes. However, successful marketing campaigns by international firms frequently provide striking proof that a trademark is more than just a legally protected indication of origin and that it can also be used to trigger values and perceptions of quality in consumers and thereby decisively influence purchasing behavior.
What is a utility model?
The utility model is often referred to as the "little brother" of the patent. As with patents, utility models can be used to protect solutions to technical problems. In contrast to patents, however, they generally cannot provide any protection for methods. Furthermore, utility models also do not undergo any substantive examination like that usually performed in the case of patents. The protection provided by a utility model therefore begins not when the process of granting it is complete but once it has been entered on the register after a brief official check. Another difference is the shorter, ten-year term of protection.
What is a design?
A design – referred to as a registered design in some jurisdictions – is a means of protecting the external shape and color scheme of a product. This type of protection also begins upon registration without any substantive examination by the relevant authority. The maximum term of protection is 25 years.