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The Austrian Patent Office’s IT system is being continuously expanded and covers all of the areas of responsibility of the Austrian Patent Office, such as the register, publication system and information system, and automated examinations of similarity.

See.ip – search everytime everywhere.industrial property – the free information portal of the Austrian Patent Office has been significantly simplified, particularly with regard to allowing public access to data in patent, utility model, trade mark and design areas. See.ip provides comprehensive and detailed information on all types of industrial property right. Various different criteria can be used to carry out searches on see.ip. Trade mark names, application/registration numbers or holders can be found quickly and easily. For trade marks and designs, the database includes all national trade marks and designs, all international trade marks with protection in Austria and/or the European Union, and all European Union trade marks. For inventions, searches can be carried out on all national patents and utility models, all European patents with protection in Austria, and all national protection certificates.

Please note

These rules apply to all Austrian entrepreneurs.

Description of the invention

An accurate and comprehensive description of the subject matter of the invention is one of the most important conditions for a successful patent or utility model application. This description of the invention does not just serve to inform the public of a new piece of technology, it also notably helps the patent or utility model holder to successfully enforce his rights in the case of possible disputes.

Please note

The advantage for you is a clear and comprehensive description of the subject matter of the invention, which helps you to enforce your property right and, as a potential user of the patent, enables you to assess whether it is in your interests to open licensing negotiations with the patent holder.

Trade mark similarity

In order to introduce a new product successfully, it is of fundamental importance for that product to have a distinctive identifier. It can be frustrating and expensive if the designation you have chosen is already protected domestically or in Europe by another business. We therefore strongly recommend that you carry out a quick and comprehensive search in respect of the sign you are planning to use as a trade mark.

Experts at the Austrian Patent Office carry out searches for identical or similar word, word/figurative or figurative marks in the classes of goods or services claimed by the applicant.

Following such a request, the applicant receives a comprehensive overview of existing identical or similar trade marks as early as after approximately two days. The express service guarantees that you will receive the results within 24 hours.

Please note

Similarity searches are an excellent basis for determining whether or not a specific sign is already protected under trade mark law. The searches are carried out quickly, cost effectively and comprehensively using the most up-to-date computer evaluations.

Documentation

Virtually all of the patent documents that were published in major industrialised countries up to the filing date of the patent application will be available at the Austrian Patent Office at the latest five months after the filing date of an Austrian patent or utility model application. The competent examiner will include these patent documents – amongst other things – in his documentation of the known prior art, in order that the result of the search and examination of the applicant’s patent application or the utility model search report can be sent to him after approximately six months. In addition to the patent and utility model documents, the examiner also has technical and legal journals, monographs, and a variety of databases at his disposal.

There are currently over 45 million specifications from 35 countries and four international organisations (ARIPO, EPO, OAPI and WIPO) available at the public library of the Austrian Patent Office. In the library’s reading room, members of the public can carry out their own independent patent database searches under supervision.

For documents created from 1995 onwards, it is also possible to access CD-ROMs stored in jukeboxes.

The advantage for you is that the documentation available to the examiner is supplemented with the newest publications on a continuous basis, thus ensuring that the searches and examinations carried out on your behalf by the Austrian Patent Office are of the utmost quality. It is possible for users who wish to obtain an initial overview of developments and prior art in a certain area to carry out their own searches of the documentation in the library of the Austrian Patent Office.

Invention

An invention is born out of a creative idea that solves a technical task. In order to be patentable, the invention must be novel, amongst other things. An invention is novel if it is not part of the prior art. The prior art consists of everything that has been made publicly available through written or oral description, as a result of use, or in some other way. Utility models are subject to a six month grace period.

Additional requirements on eligibility for protection are as follows:

  • The invention must be industrially applicable, and
  • It must involve an inventive step.

European Patent Office

The European Patent Office (→ EPO)German text headquartered in Munich, is the body of the European Patent Organisation that is responsible for receiving, examining and granting European patents. It has a branch in The Hague and further sub-offices in Berlin and Vienna.

Responsibilities of the sub-offices of the European Patent Office

  • Vienna: patent information
  • The Hague and Berlin: searches
  • Munich: examination

For further information on the European Patent Office, please visit the web page "General Information and application procedure"German text.

Industrial property rights

A collective term for the following intellectual property rights:

  • Patents /utility model
  • Trade marks
  • Designs
  • Designations of origin for agricultural products
  • Semiconductor chip topographies
  • Supplementary protection certificates (extensions to patent protection for pharmaceutical products)

Opinions

The Austrian Patent Office drafts opinions as to whether a certain technical development constitutes a patentable invention over the prior art. These opinions give the applicant the opportunity to have their creative, technical achievements examined for patentability outside of the patent granting procedure. The opinions are drafted by the competent examiner at the Patent Office. These opinions are completely independent of the patent granting procedure.

Tip

An opinion will help you to obtain a quick and cost-effective examination of your creative efforts with regard to their patentability.

Innovation

Innovations form the basis of human civilisation. Innovation relates to the implementation of novel technical solutions for specific problems, in particular the introduction of new products or the application of new methods. This concerns the whole process, from identifying a need and finding an idea for a solution through to the introduction of a market-ready product.

The function of the Austrian Patent Office is not only to register technical innovations and provide protection through patents and utility models, but also to disseminate information. Each new innovation forms the basis for the next phase of innovation and thus for continuous technical advancement.

Patent protection, utility model protection and technical information are fundamental to promoting innovation. The services and activities of the Austrian Patent Office (→ ÖPA)German text aim to support your innovations.

International patent applications (PCT)

The ‘Patent Cooperation Treaty’ (PCT) allows a patent to be granted in multiple countries with one single application. When such an international patent application is filed, a centralised search is carried out by the competent International Searching Authorities.

For further information on the procedure for PCT applications, please visit the web page "General information and application procedure".

Licences

A licence is an authorisation to whole or partial use of an industrial property right (design, utility model, patent, trade mark semiconductor protection and protection certificate) granted by the holder of said industrial property right that may be entered into the corresponding register held by the Austrian Patent Office (→ ÖPA)German text.

The authorisation to use a property right may be unrestricted or may be restricted in terms of subject matter, territory or time. The scope of this authorisation for use depends on the respective licensing agreement.

You do not need to market your property right yourself. Licensing affords you the possibility of exploiting your property right commercially, without selling said right in its entirety.

Novelty

Pursuant to Section 1 of the Austrian Patents Act, invention are only patentable if they are novel. This concept of novelty is absolute. This means that the invention should not have already been made publicly available anywhere in the world, in any form. It is thus crucially important for the inventor to file an application to patent his invention before publishing it in any form (in writing or orally). Once the application has been filed, there is nothing to prevent the applicant publishing the invention in newspapers, scientific publications, etc.

Once you have filed an application to patent your invention, this allows you to publish your invention without ‘prejudicing its novelty’, to enter into negotiations with possible users, and thus to avoid losing time regarding the exploitation of the invention.

The Paris Convention

The ‘Paris Convention of 1883’ was one of the first international agreements on the mutual recognition of industrial property rights. Virtually all industrialised countries are contracting parties to this convention, under which, within a certain timeframe (priority period), the first filing date of a foreign application will be recognised in each respective country. The Paris Convention is both the basis for and an integral component of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), concluded in 1994.

Searches

A search comprises written information on the prior art for a specific technical problem. In addition to its library, which houses approximately 45 million patent documents, the Austrian Patent Office also uses a variety of professional patent and specialist scientific/technical databases to carry out these searches.

The result of a search takes the form of a list of the documents found, with a brief comparison of their contents. If you have filed claims relating to the subject matter of the application, a rough assessment as to the relevance of the documents for each individual claim will also be provided.

WIPO

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is a specialised agency of the United Nations, headquartered in Geneva. WIPO’s function is to promote international protection of intellectual property through intergovernmental cooperation. WIPO dedicates a substantial part of its activities to cooperation with developing countries. It helps these countries to resolve their issues in the area of industrial property rights and copyright.

The organisation’s other tasks include further development of the international legislative framework for the protection of intellectual property rights and administration of international examination and registration agreements in this area, such as the PCT, the Madrid System for trade marks or the Hague Agreement on designs.

Austria’s membership in the various unions of the WIPO enables it to participate in a formative manner in all key developments in the area of intellectual property.

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Translated by the European Commission
last update: 22 May 2020
responsible for content:
  • USP Editorial Staff
  • Austrian Patent Office

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