The Estonian Patent Office has published new methodological guidelines

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This publication is another methodological tool in the corresponding series published by the Estonian Patent Office in the field of industrial property protection. It supplements the methodological guidelines published in 2003 - Patent application. A selection of legal acts the applicant needs to be informed of - and contains the translation into Estonian of the substantive examination, an essential part of the Guidelines for Examination in the European Patent Office.

In 2002 the Republic of Estonia acceded to the Convention on the Grant of European Patents, the integral part of which is the Implementing Regulation. The pre-requisite for the accession of Estonia was the harmonisation of the Estonian Patent Act with the provisions of the Convention and its Implementing Regulation. Under the Implementation of the Convention on the Grant of European Patents Act, a European patent application has to be legally equivalent to a patent application filed in accordance with the Estonian Patent Act. Thus should the requirements related to the contents of patent applications also be equal. These requirements are described in detail in the Guidelines for Examination in the European Patent Office.

In carrying out patent examination, the Estonian Patent Office proceeds from the Estonian Patent Act and its sub-acts, and from the European Patent Convention and its sub-acts in the extent where the latter are not in conflict with the Estonian Patent Act.

Today the Estonian Patent Office grants patents to an average of 40 to 50 per cent of the total number of patent applications filed. It is sometimes mistakenly believed that if the requirements relating to the form of the patent application are satisfied, the patent has to be granted. The main reasons for rejecting a patent application, however, lie in the deficiencies relating to the contents of the description of the invention and the claims (the invention has not been disclosed to a sufficient extent, the subject of the invention is not clearly defined in the claims, the unity of invention is missing, etc.).

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, with its Regulation Requirements relating to the form and contents of documents included in a patent application and order of filing the application with the Patent Office (RTL, 11.01.2005, 5, 36), has established the guidelines for patent applications. The provisions of these guidelines and the provisions of the Guidelines for Examination in the European Patent Office explain the substantive requirements for preparing a patent application. By following these requirements, the applicant for patent would be able to prepare a patent application with proper contents and, on the basis of it, a European patent application or international patent application (PCT-application).

The new publication is an important tool for patent examination, and also for preparing patent applications and obtaining patents. It may also be used for preparing utility model registration applications. The more the applicant for patent follows the above Guidelines while preparing a patent application, the greater is the probability of obtaining a patent for his/her invention in Estonia. The Guidelines also help the applicant to prepare a proper patent application for protecting his/her invention in other countries.

The primary target group of the methodological guidelines are the patent experts of the Estonian Patent Office. However, the Guidelines may be useful also to entrepreneurs and inventors wishing to protect their new products with patents or as utility models. The new publication will also serve as an aid for patent attorneys and others providing legal assistance in the field of industrial property.

The volume of the publication is 80 pages and it can be obtained from the Receiving Department of the Estonian Patent Office.