donderdag 29 oktober 2015

Patent tip: Make use of the priority year!

Within a year after the date of filing a first patent application, for the same invention, another patent application can be filed, claiming the first date of filing. The second application can be filed in the same but also in a different country.

This can provide much needed flexibility in choice of the geographical coverage of the innovation.

Therefore, make use of this special year! Ask your patent attorney, he or she can explain in more detail the details about claiming priority.


Paris convention Article 4A1 and Article 4C1

woensdag 28 oktober 2015

Patent tip: Can knowhow be patented?

Once specific knowledge is patented, it cannot be considered knowhow anymore. At first instance this appears strange, yet knowhow is defined as undisclosed, secret information, that bears value because of its secrecy.

Based on the definitions of knowhow in TRIPS and EUR 772/2004:

Because patents are by there nature public, and knowhow is per definition secret, once a patent application with knowhow is published, the knowhow instantaneously becomes generally available knowledge.

summarizing: Knowhow can be patented, yet patented knowhow does not exist....

Hendrik de Lange
Dutch and European patent attorney


IE-forum notes on verdict C/I 3/574449 / I-LA ZA 14-1008: 

TRIPS 7:39 protection of undisclosed information:

EUR 772/2004 A1(i)i-III

maandag 26 oktober 2015

Patent tip: Think inside the box!

This may be a remarkable tip, but thinking inside the box may provide excellent information about your specific field of technology. It can be a source of inspiration and provides information on what other players do in your field. But how to define the box you are in and where to look "inside your box"?

IPC, an example

Well a good definition of the box you are in, is the technical class of the International Classification System. Here is an example:

In this specific class (on a subgroup level) there are some 800 publications, mostly patent documents. All very relevant to one very specific technical field, in this case membrane cleaning with moveable bodies.

The specific subgroup B01D65/04 is one of the approximately 65 000 subgroups available for search. Each related to its own technical field, or to its own "box".

The classification of patent document adds incredible powerful additional information, which can provide inspiration in any field of technology, Make use of it, it is all freely available and provided by the European Patent Office. You will find the relevant link below.

Hendrik de Lange
Dutch and European Patent Attorney
+31 (0) 641 74 686


Link with information about the international classification system:

Link to a keyword search mask in the classes of the IPC

zaterdag 24 oktober 2015

Patent tip: Be inspired by the patent databases!


One of the magnificent search tools for patent information is Espacenet. Espacenet is a database made available for free by the European patent office. Here, in a neatly ordered fashion you can find in about 64 000 classes about 90 000 000 patent documents.

This is a truly wonderful source of inspiration, that is why I would like to share this item with you.


For example you can keyword search in the classes, and can select the most appropriate class for your innovation. In this class, you can just start to wander around through the relevant documents. Please have a look at the second link herein below for a direct entry into 90 million patent documents, and:

Be inspired!

If you have tried various things and you get stuck, please don't hesitate giving me a call or texting me a message:

Hendrik de Lange
Dutch and European patent attorney
+31 (0) 6 481 74 686


Link to the keyword search field in the documents of Espacenet:

Link to the keyword search field in the classes of Espacenet:

vrijdag 23 oktober 2015

Patent tip: Keep your stuff secret!

One of the requirements in patent law, in order to get a patent and the desired monopoly on your technology, is that the invention must be new.

A single sell of the product, wherein the invention is integrated is sufficient to take away this so called novelty and thus is killing the chances on getting a valid monopoly. 

So keep your stuff secret! Secret at least till you have made a sensible decision on obtaining protection. If you have to disclose details to suppliers or potential clients, have them sign an NDA!

Hendrik de Lange
Dutch and European patent attorney
+31 (0) 6 481 74 686

maandag 19 oktober 2015

Patent tip: Recognize the invention!

Search for "pling-effects"

The best way to describe an invention is by the "pling-effect". "Pling-effects" occur when a problem occurs that is difficult  to solve. Most of these problems come about, because one or more counteracting forces prohibit an aimed effect to occur.

For instance the situation:

My son wants to organize a birthday party on the freshly discovered earthy planet Kepler 452b.


Even when travelling the speed of light, it is about 1400 years travelling. So the guests will likely arrive late, probably too late.

So the problem cannot be easily solved, until someone reaches a "pling-moment", which in this case is daunting to say the least.

Occurrence of "pling-effects"

Mostly the "pling-moment" occurs somewhere distant from the environment where the problem originally occurred. Like during relaxing, sport, showering, sleep or having a beer with close friends. It is the sudden light bulb, the creation of a new insight, a somehow higher level of knowledge than before that defines a "pling-moment".

The true master of all examples of the "pling-effect" is the Eureka moment of Archimedes in his bath tub, when he had to investigate the gold content of a crown of the that time reigning king. The excitement when the insight has reached apparently was so great that he danced naked in the streets of joy.

"Pling-effects" are often extremely rewarding, and mostly the solution appears dead simple once it has appeared in the mind. Here the danger of downgrading the invention is likely to occur, especially by people with creative technical minds. Questions like: is that so special? or remarks like everyone could have come up with this are detrimental for the recognition of inventions.

Remember, this is always a hindsight view! Beforehand, before the "pling-effect", no-one would say the solution is easy, because, before the "pling-effect", there was none to judge in the first place.

Mostly, the hard and often frustrating work comes in implementing the "pling-effect" in a working prototype. Mostly it is difficult, because the implementation is never performed before. It is like stepping into the unknown and see if it works out.

So whenever a "pling-moment" occurs, a potentially patent worthy invention may have been generated, out of thin air! This much explains the word invention, as if the wind has blown something into a mind.


- "Pling-effects" indicate an invention.
- "Pling-effects" occur at very distinct and memorizable moments, mostly in a relaxed state of mind.
- "Pling-effects" are giving a sense of excitement.
- "Pling-effects" are mostly very simple in hindsight.
- "Pling-effects" are by nature difficult to implement, because nobody has done it before, ever.

When is such "pling-effect" patent worthy?  You will read more about the patent requirements in one of my future patent tips!

I wish you happy inventing!

Hendrik de Lange
Dutch and European patent attorney


woensdag 14 oktober 2015

Patent tip: Get a patent or two and keep your Innovatiebox!

It was expected and it will be implemented in 2017; the end of the WBSO declaration entry for the innovation box (the 5% tax regime on company profits in stead of 25%). Only a patent is considered sufficient to be able to receive the reduction, aimed at stimulating the innovativeness of enterprises.

Well be aware, a patent may not even be sufficient to repair this. A negative written opinion, issued by the Dutch patent office may well annihilate your chances on getting into the innovation box regime. Dutch tax inspectors are now more and more studying in detail the files at the Dutch patent office.  They are not any longer accepting the reduced tax regime under the innovation box, if the written opinion is negative about the patentability of the invention.

And believe me, most written opinions are negative.....

Worse still, there is nothing to do to repair this negative opinion in a patent application. This is because the written opinion is only an opinion, not an appealable decision.

How to repair this? 

Well by filing a second application, with much more restricted, narrow claims, such that it is almost impossible for the patent examiner in question to issue a negative written opinion on this second patent application. 

Are you interested in how to strategically best cope with this issue and get the exact details on how to deal with it, please send me an email or give me a call, I will be happy to advice you. 

Thank you for reading my blog, 

Hendrik de Lange
Dutch and European Patent attorney
cellphone: +31 6 481 74 686

zaterdag 3 oktober 2015

Patent tip: indicate your protection!

Products with clear indications of protection get less copied!

It is always advisable to put a patent number or a patent pending on your products, once a patent application has been filed.


It educates the public that there is protection applied for or that there is a protective right in force. More importantly, it warns potential infringers to be cautious about copying. Products with clear protection indications are less likely to be copied, and lawsuits against infringers are more likely to succeed.


The Legaignoux brothers are the inventors of the inflatable kites, which was a true revolution in water sports. These inflatable kites could be relaunched from water, without the danger of loosing the kite, or worse the danger of loosing your life altogether. In 1985 they have filed for a patent and after their patent being filed and granted, the inventors have searched for and found numerous licensees.

Figures from the EP0202271 European Patent for tube  kites.

The first licensee, Neil Pride, who was selling the kites under the Wipika brand took a license only in 1997, 12 years after the first patent has been filed. The producers Naish and North followed soon, later most brands followed in licensing this technology [1,2].

Patent marking on one of the original R3, one of the early Naish kites, designed for kitesurfing.

Since then more than a million kites with the Legaignoux technology have been sold globally. Quite a success!

Number of tube-kites sold annually, the arrows indicate the start and expiry of the
first patent on tube-kites. the Numbers originate from various sources [3,4]

Without protecting and licensing, and without informing potential competitors, the two brothers and inventors would not have had such a profitable return on their truly lifetime investment. They did contribute to the world by introducing a new and exciting sport. And they created a global market now worth over 321 million US$ [4].

To all innovators: indicate the protection on your products well!

References and sources:

[1] About the inflatable kite:

[2] About the history of kite surfing:

[3] SBC Kiteboard: [available as link only in the internet archive, numbers are still available]

[4] Wikipedia: