Patent law can be an extremely confusing thing which is enough to scare some of the most innovative people in the world away from creating new things. This is particularly true when your patent needs to be filed in a number of countries. Protecting patent rights is important because if people are not rewarded for their hard work and innovation they will not see the point of working hard. Unfortunately we do not live off air and all need to eat. This is why everyone is guided by Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand, even hippies. Two of the biggest components of patent law are the First to File or First to Invent concept and the America Invents Act. Here we introduce these concepts and what they mean if you plan on filing for a patent in a Latin American country where the enforcement of patent rights has been somewhat marred by bad press in recent years. Keep reading and find out more;
These are two similar concepts which are often confused with one another. First to Invent is a legal concept that was only used by countries like Canada, the Philippines and the United States of America and is no longer in use so it can be ignored. The First to File principle is one that is used in every country’s patent law system. The last country to adopt this concept was the United States of America when the America Invents Act came into force on 16 March 2013 under the leadership of President Barack Obama.
The First to File principle is based on the idea that the rights of a patent will always go to the inventor or individual who files for a patent first. This means that even if you can prove that you came up with an idea first, if you don’t file for patent rights first you lose out. Since all countries work with this principle and Argentina is a member of the Paris Convention, the same rule applies here. The institute that you will be working when filing for patents in Argentina is the Industrial Property Institute or INPI.
The world has become increasingly connected and information can be transferred over thousands of kilometres in a matter of seconds. This has been fantastic for innovation as it has allowed parties who would have struggled to communicate and share ideas in the past to get together and come up with solutions for a better and safer future. The only downside (if you can call it that) when you come up with a new invention you often need to file for the same patent in a number of countries in order to protect yourself from people who want to take advantage of you. Most countries will insist that you file for a patent in the official language of the country. For instance, if you want to file a patent in Argentina it has to be done in Spanish which would be fine if we all spoke one language but unfortunately this is not the case. This is why you need to find a good legal translation service.
A good legal translation service will have a thorough understanding of patent law in the country you want to file a patent in as well as fluency in both languages. Ideally the person should have lived in both countries as well. If the translator has not lived in both countries there will be more space for error and cultural interpretation across languages. People misinterpret one another on a daily basis due to a lack of proper communication and understanding and even though legal systems are fairly clear about what is allowed and what is not, there is always room for error as they too are a product of human beings.
If you are serious about protecting your intellectual property you need to hire the best legal translators in the industry, especially if you are a foreigner in a country like Argentina. As an outsider you do not understand the language far less the cultural nuances at play. Employ a translator you would feel comfortable and trusting your life (after all it is your work and thus a part of who you are) with who has a good reputation. The last thing you need when trying to protect your intellectual property rights is for the individual you are asking (and paying) to help you to take advantage of you.
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