A patent gives you protection over what you have been working on for years. It is a useful tool to toy with your competitors' capabilities and it increases the value of your company. In essence, the purpose of the patent system is to stimulate technological advances by sharing knowledge about new inventions in exchange for a temporary patent monopoly. Right now during the COVID-19 crisis, I am very pleased to see that the key objective has come even more to the fore.
COVID-19 in patent databases
The first patent applications aimed at symptom control, disinfection and detection of COVID-19 have started to appear in patent databases in recent weeks. That in itself is quite remarkable. Normally, there are 18 months between an application being filed and it being published in a database. In these cases, accelerated publication was requested This is always possible, but rarely happens, because you generally do not want to provide your competitors with more information than you actually need to. However, in the case of remedies against COVID-19, accelerated publication and granting can be crucial.
Patent database source of knowledge and inspiration
It is also good to see that the European Patent Office is highlighting patent publications on its website that could be relevant in the fight against COVID-19. The patent database appears to be a great source of inspiration, for example when it comes to treatment methods against coronaviruses, ingredients that make vaccines more effective, methods of administration and the production of face masks.
Role patent system
New technologies often build on old ones, but it is not always visible how the patent system plays an important role in this. With the accelerated patent publications and overviews from the European Patent Office, this added value may become apparent to a wider audience. Hopefully, the patent system can play a role in curbing COVID-19 as quickly as possible.