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Patent protection for Hungary can be obtained by filing a patent application with the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office (HIPO), by validating a European patent granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) or via the international (PCT) route.

We offer full range services in both Hungarian and European patent matters before the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office (HIPO) and before the European Patent Office (EPO).

Requirements for protection

The requirements for obtaining design protection in Hungary and in the European Union are substantially the same.

A patent is granted for any inventions that is new, involves an inventive step and is susceptible of industrial application.

The invention is new if it does not form part of the state of the art. In order to be considered as involving an inventive step the invention must not be obvious to a person skilled in the art having regard to the state of the art. An invention is susceptible of industrial application if it can be made or used in any kind of industry, including agriculture.

The following intellectual achievements are not regarded as inventions and are thus excluded from patent protection:
- discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods;
- aesthetic creations;
- schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, playing games or doing business, and programs for computers;
- presentations of information.

There are some further exclusions to patentability such as:
- inventions the commercial exploitation of which would be contrary to "ordre public" or morality;
- plant or animal varieties or essentially biological processes for the production of plants or animals (except microbiological processes);
- methods for treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy;
- diagnostic methods practised on the human or animal body.

Scope of protection

The extent of the protection conferred by a patent is be determined by the claims. The description and drawings are used to interpret the claims and due account is taken of any element which is equivalent to an element specified in the claims.

After grant, the European patent confers on its proprietor in each Contracting State the same rights as would be conferred by a national patent granted in that State.

In Hungary a patent shall afford the proprietor of the patent (patentee) the exclusive right to exploit the invention. On the basis of this exclusive right, the patentee is entitled to prevent any person not having his consent - from making, using, putting on the market, offering for sale or stocking or importing for such purposes the patented product; and
- from using or offering for use the patented process.

If the subject-matter of the patent is a process, the protection conferred by the patent extends to the products directly obtained by such process.

Term of protection

Upon grant the patent is protected for a period of 20 years from the date of the filing of the application. Provisional protection is available from the date of publication of the patent application, it may, however, be subject to further conditions in the case of European patent applications.

Grant procedure

The patent procedure before the HIPO and the EPO are very similar. Both Offices carry out a search and a substantive examination in order to determine whether or not the patent application meets the requirements for protection. The patent application (and the search report) is published after 18 months from the date of filing, or, if priority is claimed, the date of priority. From hereon the patent application benefits from a provisional protection. In the course of the substantive examination the applicant is given the opportunity to address any objections raised by the examiner and to amend the patent application. Such amendment may not, however, extend the subject matter disclosed in the application as originally filed.

The total time up to a final decision (grant or refusal) may vary from case to case. In average grant procedures are expected to take 3 to 5 years both in Hungary and before the EPO.

Post-grant proceedings

The validity of a patent can be contested at any time after its grant. If it is found that the patent does not meet the requirements of patentability, it will be revoked retroactively to its filing date.

A European patent may be revoked centrally as a result of an opposition filed within 9 months from the date of grant of the patent. After this period the European patent has to be invalidated separately in each state where it is in force.

Unitary patent

The Unitary Patent package has not yet entered into force, hence it is not yet possible to obtain a unitary patent.

The unitary patent - or "European patent with unitary effect" - is a European patent, granted by the EPO under the rules and procedures of the European Patent Convention. Unitary effect is given for the territory of the 25 Member States participating in the unitary patent scheme.

The unitary patent will co-exist with national patents and with classical European patents.

The Unified Patent Court will have jurisdiction in infringement and revocation proceedings.

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