What is an Invention?
The invention, which is one of the objects of industrial property, is described as a new solution or method of a technical or technological problem related to a new equipment, product or process development or improvement of an existing equipment, product or process. From a legal point of view, a new idea can be called an invention if it meets three mandatory criteria: the criteria of industrial applicability, novelty and inventive step, which are defined in the Patent Law of the Republic of Lithuania.
For the purposes of the legislation governing the legal protection of inventions, the following shall not be regarded as inventions:
1) discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods;
2) exterior views of the products;
3) plans, rules and techniques for games, intellectual or economic activities, and computer programs;
4) ways of providing information;
5) the human body or an element thereof, including the sequence or parts of a gene, in its natural environment at any stage of its formation and development. This provision shall not apply to an element extracted from the human body or otherwise obtained by a technological process, as well as to a gene sequence or part thereof, even if the element has the same structure as the element in its natural environment.
Unlike the protection of the copyright and related rights in the results of a creative activity, the legal protection of an invention can only be exercised by filing a patent application to the Patent Office. As from the date of filing or priority of the patent application of the invention, the respective terms of legal protection of the invention are calculated. Patenting an invention is not a compulsory procedure, but if the proprietor of the invention wishes to realize the invention in the public domain and prevent the unauthorized use and disposal of the invention by others, the patent is required.
In case of patenting an invention, the principle of confidentiality must be observed. In order to obtain legal protection for an invention, information about it may not be published or otherwise made public unless the patent application is formally registered by the Patent Office. Ideas and know-how are not patentable, but may be protected by copyright.
The exclusive right to an invention of a patent obtained in the selected territory:
1. Where the subject-matter of the patent is a product, the patent owner shall have the exclusive right to prevent third parties not having the owner’s consent from the acts of making, using, offering for sale, selling, importing or exporting that product;
2. Where the subject matter of the patent is a process, the owner of the patent shall have the exclusive right to prevent third parties not having the owner’s consent from the act of using the process, and from the acts of using, offering for sale, selling, importing or exporting a product obtained directly by that process.
Upon receipt of an invention disclosure report with information on new idea or R&D solution, Innovation Office will evaluate the possibilities to realize and / or protect the proprietary rights. Attention is paid to the following aspects: whether the idea is novel, if there is freedom to operate, which is necessary for the beginning of the patenting process; in case there are co-authors - to what extent the solution of the idea belongs to them; whether this is the result of an ongoing project and what terms and conditions apply to the protection of intellectual property, etc.).
The process of patenting inventions requires long-term financial investment, therefore legal protection is sought only for commercially viable inventions. University’s Intellectual Property Management and Investment Committee evaluates disclosed inventions and their commercial potential. The Committee advises the Rector or his/her authorized representative regarding the possibility of legal protection for the disclosed invention or other industrial property; reimbursement of invention’s patenting costs from the Innovation Fund.
University collaborates with the AAA Law Office Patent attorneys representing University in the patenting procedures of the University's inventions.
Important documents which are available on the intranet:
- Disclosure report
- Initiative form of an innovative company seeking to commercialize R&D outcomes created at Vilnius University
- Procedures for implementing the intellectual property management regulations of Vilnius University in industrial property management.