What is a patent

Patents: what is a patent and how does protection work?

The patent protects technical inventions, provided they are new and have not yet been made public.

A patent can be used to protect technical inventions, in particular products (clockworks, functional textiles, chemical substances, etc.) and processes (drying processes for food, cleaning processes, etc.).

The holder of a patent can prohibit third parties from using his invention commercially (for example, to manufacture and sell the protected products) for up to 20 years in the countries in which the invention is protected. In return, the invention must be disclosed in the patent.

Requirements for patent protection

The application of a patent is bound to the following requirements:

  • Among other things, the invention must be new and it must not be obvious.
  • In order to meet the criterion of novelty, the invention must not have been published anywhere before the application for a patent. So if you want to patent your invention, you should keep it secret until you register.


There are also alternatives to applying for a patent:

  • If the invention cannot be traced back to the finished product, the manufacturing method can be kept secret.
  • If you do not want to protect your invention but at the same time prevent third parties from patenting your invention, you can publish it on a publication platform, for example. It is therefore no longer new and therefore no longer patentable.

It is advisable to seek advice from a patent attorney (patent attorneys - Swiss Federal Institute for Intellectual Property) when choosing the protection strategy and the formulation of the patent.