Patent law

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The word patent originates from the Latin patere, which means "to lay open" (i.e., to make available for public inspection). In modern usage, the term patent usually refers to the right granted to anyone who has invented a new, useful, and non-obvious process or product. The legal term for patent in Dutch is ‘octrooi’.

Patents can give rise to disputes between two or more parties. An accused infringer has the right to challenge the validity of the patent allegedly being infringed in a countersuit. A patent can be found invalid on grounds described in the relevant patent laws, which vary between countries.

The grant and enforcement of patents are governed by national laws, and also by international treaties, where those treaties have been given effect in national laws. Patents are granted by national or regional patent offices. In other words, patent law is territorial in nature. When a patent application is published, the invention disclosed in the application becomes prior art and enters the public domain.

Netherlands Patent Office, a department of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, is the patent agency for the Dutch territory. Since 1912, we have been granting Dutch patents in accordance with the terms and conditions formulated within the Patent Act.

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