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I have filed for a patent, what are my rights ?
The filing of an application for a patent, then the issuance of the patent itself, give the right to prohibit the exploitation of the invention protected by this patent. Generally speaking, this exclusive right (monopoly) enables the patent-owner to decide who may exploit it and under which conditions (length of time, financial compensation, etc.). If the patent-owner does not exploit it personally, they may decide to "rent" the invention, via licensed grants to one or more interested organisations. They may also decide to sell the invention via a patent assignment agreement. They additionally have the possibility of extending the patent to foreign countries, benefitting from the date of first filing, for a period of 12 months following that filing date. A filed patent also enables them to act under infringement before the courts against unauthorised use of the patent.
The rights extend over a period of 20 years, at the term of which the patent “falls” into the public domain.
Caution: the simple filing of a description of the invention in the form of a “Soleau envelope” accords no rights per se and cannot in any way replace the filing of a patent.
But the fact of possessing a patent also creates obligations for the patent-owner, which consist mainly of the payment of annuities for maintaining the patent in force. Also, if the patent is not exploited, any interested person may petition the court for a license. It is in the patent-owner’s best interest to enforce the patent as soon as they become aware of counterfeits.