Patents of Invention

– Law of November 27, 1990, No. 527/1990 on Inventions and Rationalization Proposals, as amended by Laws Nos. 116/2000, 207/2000, 501/2004, 59/2005, 413/2005, 221/2006, 378/2007, and 303/2013.
– Decree of December 11, 1990, No. 550/1990, in force since January 1, 1991, as amended by Decree No. 21/2002.
– Law of June 21, 2000 on the Protection of Biotechnological Inventions, in force since October 1, 2000.
– Law No. 173/2002 of April 9, 2002 on Fees for Maintenance of Patents and Supplementary Protection Certificates and Plant Protection Products and on amendments of some Acts.
– Act No. 221/2006 Coll. of April 25, 2006 on Enforcement of Industrial Property Rights and on the Amendment of Industrial Property Protection Acts.

Note: a new Patent Act is in preparation and will probably come into force in the near future, after the ratification of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court.

Membership in International Conventions

– Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, Stockholm Act, since January 1, 1993.
– Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), since January 1, 1993.
– Strasbourg Agreement Concerning the International Patent Classification, since January 1, 1993.
– Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms, since January 1, 1993.
– Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), since January 1, 1993.
– WTO’s TRIPS Agreement, since January 1, 1995.
– The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (Apostille), since March 16, 1999.
– European Patent Convention, since July 1, 2002. (Note: the London Agreement has not yet been ratified).

Filing

Kind of protection: patent.

Applicant: inventor or his successor in title. 

Foreigners and nationals not living in the country: must appoint a representative for any proceedings brought before the Patent Office. 

Protection of foreigners: subject to reciprocity, foreigners have the same rights and duties as Czech citizens. 

Naming of the inventor: the inventor must be named in the application. Upon request of the inventor, the Office shall not state the inventor’s name when publishing the application and the announcement concerning the grant of the patent. 

Patentability of inventions: patents are granted for inventions which are new, which involve an inventive step and which are capable of industrial application. Programs for computers are not regarded as inventions.

Novelty: an invention is considered to be new if it does not form part of the state of the art. The state of the art comprises everything disclosed to the public in the Czech Republic or abroad prior to the date from which the right of priority belongs to the person who filed the application.

Protection of products obtained by a patented method: a patent granted for a manufacturing method covers also the product directly manufactured by using the method. Identical products shall be considered to have been obtained by the protected method, unless the opposite can be proved. 

Exceptions to protection: patents are not granted in respect of (a) inventions which are contrary to public interests, in particular to the principles of humanity and public morality, e.g. processes for cloning human beings, processes for modifying the germ line genetic identity of human beings, processes of using human embryos for industrial or commercial purposes or processes for modifying the genetic identity of animals, human body at various stages of its formation and development and the simple discovery of one of its elements, including the sequence or partial sequence of a gene; (b) methods for treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy and diagnostic methods practiced on the human or animal body shall not be regarded as inventions which are capable of industrial application; (c) plant or animal varieties as well as essentially biological processes of their production and improvement, except of industrial production microorganisms and biological processes and products obtained with their help, which are patentable.

Priorities: multiple or partial priorities may be claimed in one and the same application. The date, the country and the number of the basic application must be indicated in the Czech application and cannot be supplied later.

Territory covered: the Czech Republic.

Filing requirements for an application (to be sent to resident agent):
1. Name and address of the applicant;
2. Name and address of the inventor;
3. Power of attorney (signed by applicant, without legalization); can be filed after the filing of the application;
4. A document showing the right to the patent, if the applicant is not the inventor; can be filed after the filing date;
5. Specification (in English, German or French, to be translated), 2 copies, abstract;
6. Drawings: 1 original, 3 copies;
7. Priority document (if any), to be filed only on request of the Patent Office;
8. Assignment of priority right, if the applicant in the Czech Republic is not the same as the first applicant (notarization of the signature of the first applicant is required), to be filed only on request of the Patent Office.

PCT applications: time limit for the entry into national phase (deadline for filing the translation of the specification) under both Chapters I and II: 31 months from the priority date (valid from January 18, 2002).

Examination Procedure

Examination: an application is subject to a preliminary examination and a full examination.

Publication: the Patent Office publishes the application on the expiry of eighteen months as from the priority date and announces the publication in the Official Journal. An application may be published before the expiry of the term of eighteen months, if a demand to this effect is filed by the applicant within twelve months from the priority date at the latest. The Office shall publish any application before the expiry of eighteen months provided that the patent has already been granted; in absence of the applicant’s consent however, the Office shall not publish the application before the expiry of twelve months as from the priority date. Together with the application the Office may publish the report on the state of the art (never used). 

Opposition to application filed: after the publication any person may file observations regarding the patentability of the application’s object.

Full examination: the Office carries out a full examination of the application in order to ensure that it complies with the requirements for the grant of a patent. A full examination is carried out upon the applicant’s or another person’s request, or by the Office or ex officio. The request must be filed within thirty-six months as from the date of filing of the application. It cannot be withdrawn. If the request has not been filed within the time limit, the Office shall terminate the procedure.

Granting

Granting: if the subject of the application complies with the fixed requirements and provided that the fee was paid by the applicant, the Office shall grant a patent to the applicant; thereby the applicant becomes the patentee. The Office delivers to the patentee a Letters Patent. The grant of the patent is announced in the Official Journal. 

Right of prior user: a patent shall have no effect against any person who, prior to the beginning of the priority right, had already worked the invention independently of the inventor or patentee or had made arrangements that can be proved for so doing. 

Duration: twenty years from the filing date of the application.

Annuities: are to be paid after the grant of a patent. Their payment may be delayed for six months with a fine of 100%.

Assignment: a patent must be assigned by a written contract, taking effect in respect to third parties as from the latest entry in the Register of Patents. 

License: the consent (license) to work an invention protected by a patent must be given by a written contract. A license contract shall take effect in respect of third parties as from entry in the Register of Patents.

Compulsory license: if the patentee unreasonably does not work the invention at all, or works it insufficiently and he has not accepted a due offer for a license agreement in a reasonable term, the Patent Office, upon the justified request, may grant a non-exclusive right to use the invention (compulsory license); the compulsory license may not be granted before the expiry of the period of four years as from the filing date of the invention application or three years as from the grant of the patent, whichever period expires last. The compulsory license may be also granted, where an important public interest is endangered. The grant of a compulsory license shall not affect the right of the patentee to obtain compensation of the license value.

Cancellation of the patent: the Office shall cancel the patent, wholly or in part, if it has ascertained that the conditions stipulated for granting the same have not been complied with. The cancellation shall be effective as from the commencement of the validity of the patent.

Appeals: possible before the Patent Office. Bail is required, which is returned if the appeal succeeds. 

Reexamination of the final decision of the Patent Office: possible before the Municipal Court in Prague. Cassation complaint against the decision of the Municipal Court is possible.

Protection

Exhaustion of rights: the patentee shall not be entitled to prohibit third parties to work with the product which is the subject of the protected invention, if the product has been put on the market in the Czech Republic by the patentee or with his consent, unless there exist reasons for the extension of patent rights to the aforementioned activities. 

Infringement: any one whose right has been infringed is entitled to demand legal protection and to pursue the remedy of the infringement. Reparation of damage can be claimed. Litigation shall be settled by the Municipal Court in Prague. The damaged party may request the court to order that the jeopardizer or infringer of the rights destroy the products, whose production or placing on the market has jeopardized or infringed the protected right, or destroy the material and implements having been intended to be, or having been, used exclusively or predominantly in activities which jeopardized or infringed protected rights. The court decides upon the request for the preliminary measure within seven days at the latest from the filing date of the request. The security must be paid simultaneously with the request.

Supplementary Protection Certificates for Medicinal Products and Plant Protection Products

Legal basis: the relevant Regulations of the EU and the chapter of the Patent Law No. 527/1990, as amended by Law No. 116/2000, which came into force on May 10, 2000.

Duration: the certificate is valid during the time corresponding to the period starting from the filing date of the application for the basic patent until the date of the first registration of the medicine (or preparation for plant protection pursuant to separate regulations), reduced by five years. However, the duration of the certificate may not exceed five years from the day on which it takes effect. The rules concerning their validity are identical with those concerning “patents“. The request for granting the certificate has to be filed within six months from the day of validity of the decision on the registration of the medicine or of the preparation for plant protection. 

Retroactivity: when the time limit lapsed before May 10, 2000, it shall be possible to fill the request on granting the certificate provided that the decision on registration of medicines or on plant protection products registration became valid after November 10, 1999. 

Paediatric extension: available.

Rights Derived from a European Patent

The Czech Republic can be a designated country in a European patent. The granting of a European patent in which the Czech Republic is designated confers the same rights as the granting of a Czech patent. A Czech translation must be filed within three months from the publication date of the issue of the European patent. Rights resulting from a European patent application may be used in the Czech Republic against an alleged infringer starting from the publication date. Such rights exist only from the publication date of a Czech translation of the claim(s), or from the sending of the translation as a notification to the alleged infringer. When the applicant has filed both a Czech and a European patent application designating the Czech Republic for the same invention and having the same application or priority date, the Czech patent automatically becomes ineffective for the elements which are common to both patents (Czech and European) at the end of the opposition period for the European patent. The initially filed Czech patent remains in force if the European patent is not granted or if, after the granting of the European patent, the Czech Republic is not confirmed by the applicant as a designated country.