Patents in Latvia
The aim of a patent is to protect the rights of an inventor and owner of the patent and to facilitate activities of inventors.
It is a document which verifies the rights of its owner to the object specified in the patent according to the State’s laws. A patent for invention gives its owner exclusive rights to use this invention for a fixed period of time, rights to deny others the use of this invention (exclusive rights). Without the permission of the owner of the patent third persons cannot 1) produce, offer for sale, distribute in any other way on the market, use, as well as import, export and store a patented product for said purposes; 2) use a patented method; 3) offer for sale, distribute on the market in any other way, use, as well as import, export and store for the said purposes a product directly acquired by using the patented method; 4) supply or offer for supply essential elements of the patented product if third persons knew or they should have known under the relevant circumstances that such elements are suitable and intended for application of the invention. The exclusive rights come into force on the day when a notification regarding the grant of a patent is published, and will expire no later than 20 years after the submission date of a patent.
The patent provides information on its creator and priority of the invention, as well as it verifies that the given solution is recognised to be an invention.
An invention can be protected by a patent, if it is new, involves an inventive step and it can be industrially applied. Most importantly, an invention must be new, it may not be described in prior art and is not publicly available or used publicly. Surely, an invention can be made public before a patent is granted, but in such case a patent application must be submitted no later than six months after the invention has been made public. Fraudulent actions against a patent applicant or against the legal predecessor of an applicant are an exception.
The object of invention can be a device, a method, a substance, a composition of substances and a biological material. Under the Patent Law, the following are not recognised as inventions: discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods, aesthetic creations, schemes, intellectual activities, business and game rules and methods, as well as computer programs and information dissemination methods.
The owner of a patent may be someone other than inventor, which means that he or she will have the exclusive rights to the use of an invention, but not the rights to the authorship and name which belong only to the inventor. This situation is a common part of labour relations, for example, when an employee, whose professional responsibilities include inventing, research, designing or preparation of technical developments, creates an invention, but the rights to the patent belong to the employer, unless otherwise stated by the employment contract. The employer can exercise his or her rights within 3 months, and then the rights are transferred to the inventor.
A person who wants to obtain a patent for his or her invention submits a patent application to the Patent Office. A patent application includes: 1) a request to grant a patent; 2) a description of an invention; 3) one or several claims; 4) drawings if there are references to them in the description or claims; and 5) an abstract. The patent application must be in Latvian. The part of the application including the description of the invention or reference to a previous application can be submitted in other language, but it must be translated within 3 months. The Patent Office revises the application and makes a decision to grant a patent or not, and sets a time period of 3 months during which the state fee for publication of the patent must be paid. The amount of the state fee depends on the applicant – if it is the inventor, the state fee is 40 % of the usual fee, if the inventor is a pupil, student or pensioner, the state fee is 20 % of the usual fee.
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