Frequently asked questions | Inventions

Here you can find frequently asked questions about patents and utility models.

A model or a sample should not be submitted. The description of the invention, the claims of the utility model and if required, the drawing (it need not be a technical drawing, depending on the subject matter of the application it may also be a general scheme etc.) should be submitted.

Actually it cannot be available there, because pursuant to § 32 Section 8 of the Utility Model Act the description of the utility model shall be published in the official gazette of the Patent Office only after making a registration entry and pursuant to Section 9 a registration shall enter into force on the publication date of a notice of the registration of the utility model in the official gazette of the Patent Office and thereafter your application can be viewed in the register of utility models on the website of the Estonian Patent Office. In case an application for registration of a utility model is not entered in the register for some reason, it will not be available in the register of utility models on the website of the Estonian Patent Office.

A search should be made and the invention should be compared to the existing solutions. Searches can be made and descriptions of patents and utility models can be read in the databases of patents. One source of information is database Espacenet, which offers free access to more than 90 million patent descriptions. If you do not have enough time or skills, it is possible to order a search from the Patent Office.

A patent claims defines the subject matter of the invention in a clear, concise and short manner, whereas the subject matter of an invention shall be presented as a set of essential features of the invention. Actually the claims is the most important part of the patent application, as the content and the scope of patent protection are determined by the wording of patent claims. Patent claims consist of one or several claims. If the patent claims consists of several claims, all essential features with general terms are presented in the first (independent claim) and special cases are brought out in the following (dependent) claim(s).

The state fee shall be considered paid if the data concerning the payment of the state fee are submitted to the Estonian Patent Office. The data or a document certifying the payment of the state fee should be submitted on paper carrier. A payment order or a document containing the required details compiled particularly for the Estonian Patent Office can be considered the document.

The document certifying the payment of the state fee can be brought or sent to the Patent Office. A document certifying the payment of the state fee as well as all other documents contained in the application can be put into the mailbox of applications for registration of the subjects of legal protection of industrial property in the Estonian Patent Office 24 hours a day. The documents taken from the mailbox will be sealed on the date of filing.

Note! In order to pay the state fees in due time it should be taken into account that the state fee shall be considered paid on the date the document certifying the payment of the state fee is filed with the Estonian Patent Office, not on the date of payment in the bank or any other date. The document is stamped on the date of arrival at the Estonian Patent Office.

At the moment it is prohibited to file the document certifying the payment of the state fee by fax or any other electronic means. It can be brought or sent to the Office in paper.

In order to protect your invention abroad please see more at How to protect your invention abroad?

The average duration of the examination of a patent application is 3.5 years. But the invention enjoys temporary protection starting from the filing date of the patent application until the publication date of the note of the grant of the patent.

Legal protection of inventions is of territorial character, i.e. a patent granted in Estonia is valid only in Estonia.

Patent protection is territorial, i.e. the patent is valid only in the country where protection has been applied for and granted. To maintain a patent, a state fee should be paid for each year of validity. Therefore, in case the product is protected in America, not in Europe, the product can be produced and sold in Europe. But in America it is prohibited without the permission of the proprietor of the patent during the validity of the patent.

Registration of a utility model is cheaper and faster than that of a patent. Registration system at applying for a utility model is applied. Therefore the duration of examination is significantly shorter, but the applicant him/herself is responsible for the novelty, the inventive step and susceptibility to industrial application. In case of patent applications the Estonian Patent Office checks the compliance of the invention with the criteria of patentability mentioned earlier during examination.

The same inventions, excluding inventions belonging to the field of biotechnology, can be protected as a utility model as by a patent. Besides that, protection as a utility model cannot be applied for a combination of inventions so linked as to form a single general inventive concept, i.e. both a method and a device cannot be applied for protection by the same registration application.

In both cases the invention has to be new worldwide in order to apply for protection, but in case of a utility model lower criteria are applicable to the inventive step.

The utility model is valid for 4 years from the filing date, only the fee for filing an application for registration of a utility model should be paid. The term of validity of utility model protection can be renewed first for 4 years and after that for another two years and in both cases a renewal fee must be paid. Therefore the term of validity of a utility model lasts for the maximum term of 10 years. The term of validity of patent protection lasts for the maximum term of 20 years, but a fee for the patent application and later a renewal fee must be paid for each year of validity.

A patent application is published 18 months after filing. Description of a utility model is published after registration of a utility model.

There isn’t a simple answer "yes" or "no". However, algorithms for computers and computer programs shall not be regarded as the subject of inventions pursuant to both the Patent Act and the Utility Model Act. At the same time we know that a technical solution which solves a so far unsolved technical problem, can be protected. Solution of the technical problem has a technical effect. The word ”technical” should be highlighted.

Proceeding from the European patent practice algorithms for computers and computer programs, which are merely source codes or algorithms ("software patents") are not patentable. But computer-implemented inventions are patentable, if they are new, have technical character and involve an inventive technical contribution to the prior art. In this respect, it is important to note that computer implemented business methods do not make such technical contribution and these are simply automation of economic or mental activities, which is self-evident to the person skilled in the particular area (an engineer, a developer, a technician, etc.).

For example, on the basis of the European patent practice any systems, methods, equipment or means of purchase, sales or auctioning arrangement, if it does not offer a solution to a particular so far unsolved technical problem, cannot be granted a patent. Probably auctioning rules, known administrative or payment instruments etc. cannot be regarded as a technical problem.

By the way, temporal reference transmitted in the internet-based auction system is a technical problem due to the physical parameters of the communication channels, features and network structure. Different temporal reference in information transmission between the user equipment in different geographical locations and the auction server makes the situation of the users of the auction system unequal, as it does not enable all users worldwide to make bids simultaneously. It should be highlighted that the technical solution to this problem could not be adding an additional equalizing reference with regard to user equipment with shorter reference time of the transmission channel, as this approach would rather be circumvention of the technical character and solution of the problem than solving a real, prescribed end-use problem, i.e. the temporal reference of the communication channel.

Therefore the answer to the question "Can a computer programme or a mobile app be patented?" can be "Yes, it can" only in case the invention is new, involves an inventive step and is susceptible to industrial application.

If the recipe has been thought out yourself, its composition (a mixture of different ingredients) can be protected only on condition that it is novel worldwide. The fact that it has been unknown in Estonia is not a good reason for applying for protection in Estonia. Protection is territorial. If anything is known in any other country and protected there, but has not been protected in Estonia, anyone can produce or sell it in Estonia.

No, you can’t. A novel invention can be protected by a patent or a utility model all over the world. Protection is territorial, i.e. if any product is not protected e.g. in Estonia, it can be produced and sold by anyone in Estonia.

You can protect your trade mark.

At filing either a patent application or an application for registration of a utility model with the Estonian Patent Office the prescribed state fees should be paid within 2 months.

For filing of a patent application, where the applicant is a legal person the state fee is €225 and where the applicant is a natural person it is €56.

For filing of an application for registration of a utility model, where the applicant is a legal person the fee is €105 and where the applicant is a natural person it is €26.

In case of a utility model legal protection will be valid for four years by payment of the above given filing fee. If required, legal protection can be extended for four years and thereafter for another two years by payment of the fee for the extension of validity of a registration.

In order to maintain a patent application and later a patent, a state fee has to be paid for each year of validity. Payment for the first three years can be made in the third year. When a decision on the grant of the patent has been made, a fee for registration of an invention in the patent register should be paid.

For further information concerning the amounts of the state fees for a patent see Patent fees.

Yes, it will. A patent application will be published 18 months after the filing date or, if priority is claimed, the date of priority of the patent application. Until publication the content of the patent application shall not be disclosed by the Patent Office. After publication the patent application and the granting procedure will be public. Publication of the patent application is announced in the official gazette of the Patent Office.

A patent application shall not be published if:

  • the patent application is withdrawn or deemed to be withdrawn before the expiration of 18 months;
  • the patent application is rejected before the expiration of 18 months;
  • the publication of the patent application is hindered due to deficiencies in the form or contents of patent application documents;
  • the patent application is classified.

The description of the utility model and the search report of the state of art will be public after making a registration entry on the basis of the registration decision of the utility model. If an applicant does not want to make his/her invention public so fast, he/she may apply for postponement of entering the utility model in the register, but not more than 18 months from the priority date.

The owner of a utility model (licensor) may, pursuant to a written licence agreement, grant the use of the rights of the owner of the utility model to another person or persons (licensee). Licence terms are determined by the licence agreement. The term of a license shall not be longer than the term of the utility model registration.

Licences may be registered in the register of utility models, but it is not mandatory. In order to make an entry concerning a licence a written request of the licensor or the licensee together with a copy of the licence agreement or an extract from the licence agreement which contains information necessary for the registration should be submitted to the Patent Office. A state fee of €31.95 shall be paid for an entry concerning a licence.

Upon transfer of a utility model to another person, the rights and obligations deriving from the licence are also transferred to the said person.

A public non-exclusive licence (licence of right) can be granted by the owner of a utility model. In that case an application for the registration of a public non-exclusive licence shall be submitted to the Patent Office and the state fee of €32 shall be paid. The Patent Office shall publish a respective notice in the Estonian Utility Model Gazette.

Everyone who has paid the paid the licence fee prescribed by the owner of a utility model has the right to a public non-exclusive licence. A public non-exclusive licence can be granted on condition there is no valid licence registered earlier concerning the particular utility model.

In order to maintain a patent application and patent, a state fee shall be paid for each year of validity. A patent becomes invalid, if a state fee is not paid for the year of validity.

The validity of the patent can be resumed, if failure to pay the state fee occurred due to force majeure and the proprietor of the patent files a request for the resumption of the validity of the patent, proves the existence of force majeure within two months after the impediment ceases to exist, and pays the state fee for the year of validity and for the resumption of the validity of the patent. The aforesaid request can be filed within one year from the due date (Patents Act § 42 Section 11).

A patent becomes prematurely invalid if a legal person which is the proprietor of a patent is liquidated, or its activities are terminated and the patent rights have not been transferred, or  the proprietor of the patent files a request for termination of the validity of the patent.

The patent renewal fees (annual fees) and utility model renewal fees can be paid directly by the foreign patent owner or patent attorney.  You can pay only by bank transfer. While paying please do not forget the reference number of the Estonian Patent Office 2900082362. You can also find useful information under the section Payment of the fee by a person not residing or operating in Estonia. Please be aware that the state fee is deemed to be paid upon the receipt of required documents (payment order and cover letter) by the Estonian Patent Office. Please send a copy of your payment document to e-mail [email protected] or by post. If the documents certifying payment of the state fee have not been submitted on time the validity expires.
See more: patent renewal feesutility model fees.

Due to the rising popularity of the Estonian Contest for Young Inventors, the Estonian Patent Office reminds the following.

According to Estonian legislation persons who have attained 18 years of age (adults) have full active legal capacity. A minor between 7 and 18 years of age has restricted active legal capacity and can enter into valid transactions only with the consent of his or her legal representative. Minors under 7 years of age are not entitled to sign due to their age.

In case the applicant of the registration application of an object of industrial property rights has restricted active legal capacity, we ask to include the written consent of his or her legal representative to the application. A parent who has the right of custody is the legal representative of a child. Parents who have joint custody have a joint right of representation. Also, please determine how you would like to proceed with the following procedures at the patent office. There are two options.

  1. The legal representative gives permisson that the person with restricted active legal capacity makes further transactions concerning the application independently at the patent office.
  2. The legal representative decides to represent the person with restricted active legal capacity. In that case, all transactions at the patent office will be made by the legal representative.

If the person with restricted active legal capacity files an application with the patent office without the written consent of his or her legal representative, the patent office issues a notification to the applicant, asking the legal representative to give his/her consent to the procedure. The patent office also asks to determine how they would like to proceed with the following procedures at the patent office. If the legal representative does not give his/her consent in two weeks from receiving the aforementioned proposal, the consent will be deemed as not given. In that case, the filed application is deemed void.

According to the legislation in force, the applicant is not obliged to inform the patent office of his/her age. But if it is clearly apparent to the patent office that the applicant has restricted active legal capacity, the patent office issues a notification to the applicant, asking the legal representative to give his/her consent to the procedure.

  • Jaga

Last updated: 06.02.2024