are granted on inventions which are novel, which - having regard to the state of art - are not obvious to the person skilled in the art, and which are susceptible of industrial application.
After an application is prepared and filed with the Austrian Patent Office it is examined by the Office. It may be converted into a utility model application in the course of such examination.
After completion of the examination a patent may be granted. Within a period of four months after the granting date an opposition may be lodged. Against a decision passed in opposition proceedings recourse may be lodged, with the Vienna Upper Provincial Court.
A patent application shall be published eighteen months after the application or priority date, possibly already together with a search report.
A granted patent enjoys a maximum period of protection of 20 years (starting with the filing date) and may be contested during that period on the grounds of nullity. An appeal to the Vienna Upper Provincial Court may be lodged against a decision of the Nullity Department of the Patent Office.
Moreover, it is possible to file a petition for a declaratory statement by the Austrian Patent Office whether a process or a subject matter is partly or entirely encompassed by a particular patent. Furthermore, proceedings for a declaration of dependence, lacking authorship, fraudulent abstraction, for the grant of compulsory licenses etc. are possible.
Within one year as from the filing date, applications based on an Austrian first application may be filed in almost all countries of the world, enjoying the priority of the Austrian first application.
may be filed through the Austrian Patent Office in Vienna or directly at the European Patent Office in Munich. On completion of the central grant procedure the patent has to be validated in the individual designated countries by submitting translations if necessary.
Within nine months as from the grant a European patent may be opposed centrally at the European Patent Office, later only in the individual designated countries. The maximum period of protection is 20 years, maintenance in the individual countries is effected separately.
International Patent Applications (PCT Procedure)
International patent applications may be filed directly at the World Intellectual Property Organisation in Geneva (WIPO) or through national Patent Offices (with or without claiming a priority).
These constitute a bundle of national or regional patent applications for which an international search report is prepared centrally at first and - upon request - an international preliminary examination is carried out.
Upon expiry of the international phase - maximum of 30 months - the national or regional phase can be further prosecuted in each designated country or designated region.