Protected Countries help in overcoming a common and yet essential patent coverage pitfall.
It can be complicated to know in which countries an invention is protected. It is not enough to simply go through the list of publications as many countries do not publish any documents. For instance, several major countries such as France, the UK, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, Luxembourg or the Netherlands do not republish patents going through the European (EP) patent route. Germany seems to be increasingly embracing this approach.
This article is focused on European patents and legal status, however the Protected Countries information is available for the countries.
It is necessary to go through the legal status information of each European country to check whether the invention is protected there. The Protected countries field helps bypass this laborious, time-consuming search and analysis. Source of the data is still the /ACT field.
Protected countries is a Questel high-value field that allows you to see at a glance, for alive patent families, the list of countries where the patent rights are either pending or granted. You can view this in the preview or biblio tabs:
In the above example, the following countries where the invention is fully protected do not appear in the list of publications (specificity of the EP patent system):
- Belgium (BE)
- Switzerland (CH)
- Germany (DE)
- Finland (FI)
- France (FR)
- Great Britain (GB)
- Sweden (SE)
Protected Countries provides this critical piece of information at a glance. When you mouse over each country’s flag you’ll see the list of patent numbers which are associated with the patent rights in that country. There can be multiple patent numbers per country; for instance there might be a national patent and European patent or just simply multiple national patent covering the same country.
To display it in the Preview tab, use the Edit Preview button and add the field to the list of fields to display:
Protected countries can be analyzed and this allows you to better understand your market without bias. This graph is available by default on the analysis dashboard.