There are different routes to patent protection and the best route will depend on the invention and the markets in which the company operates. The Icelandic Intellectual Property Office accepts a direct national patent application, European patent applications, validation of European patents in Iceland and PCT applications.
Must be new, inventive and capable of industrial application
Novelty: The invention must be new, not only in Iceland but world-wide. The invention may not have been publicised in speech or in writing before an application for a patent is filed.
Inventive: The invention must differ essentially from prior art, i.e. the solution to the problem it resolves may not be obvious to a person skilled in the art.
Capable of industrial application: The invention must be of practical economic use, i.e. it must be possible to manufacture and sell it.
When granted, a patent will give you exclusive commercial rights to your invention.
Before applying for a patent, it is advisable to carry out a patent search. In the patent search engine, you find all patents that are valid in Iceland.
Several databases containing information on patents that have been granted internationally may be found on the Internet, e.g. Espacenet, the database of the European Patent Office (EPO), and Patent Scope, the database of the World Intellectual Patent Organisation (WIPO). The EPO's databank, European Patent Register, allows examination of the processing of individual cases at the EPO.
Furthermore, assistance may be sought from patent authorities and patent agencies that specialise in examining the novelty of inventions by searching databases.
Collaborative Search is a service in cooperation with the Nordic Patent Institute (NPI). The search is tailored to give the inventor a better idea of the novelty of his invention. See more here.
An applicant who is not domiciled in Iceland must have an agent residing in the European Economic Area, in a member state of the European Free Trade Association treaty, or in the Faeroe Islands who can represent the applicant in all matters concerning the application. The ISIPO advises all applicants to seek legal advice.
Patents granted by the Icelandic Intellectual Property Office protect inventions for up to 20 years in Iceland. The exclusive rights established in patent legislation (see Patents Act No 17/1991, as amended) entitle the proprietor to prohibit others from manufacturing, importing and selling an invention protected by a patent. The registration will be ceased unless the fee is paid. An examination of a patent can take up to five months. The applicant generally has three months to respond to any possible issues raised from an examination report.
Right of priority
What is a right of priority?
Iceland is a party to the Paris Convention. If an application has been filed in a country that is party to the Convention, the applicant may, within 12 months from the date of the application, file an application relating to the same matter in another country, including Iceland, and claim right of priority with reference to the initial application. The later application is then regarded as having been filed on the same date as the earlier application (the date of priority).
National patent application
Applications for patents in Iceland shall be submitted to the Icelandic Intellectual Property Office. An application form must be filled in and filed together with a detailed description of the invention, as provided for in the Patents Act No 17/1991.
Application documentation may be in Icelandic, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish or English. In the event that the description, patent claims, abstract, and text on drawings is not in Icelandic, the patent claims, abstract, and the text on the drawing to be published therewith shall be made available in Icelandic translation before the application is made accessible to the public. The description shall be available translated into Icelandic or into English before the patent is granted.
The European Patent Convention, EPC, enables the applicant, by means of a single application, to obtain a patent in most of the European countries. Iceland became a party to the Convention on 1 November 2004 and, as result, the procedure can be initiated in the Icelandic Patent Office.
The entire application procedure is handled by the European Patent Office (EPO). Once the EPO has granted a patent, it must be validated in the countries designated by the applicant through the payment of a renewal fee in each country and, in some cases, by paying national fees and submitting translations of parts of the patent.
European applications filed on 1 November 2004 or later apply automatically to Iceland if the applicant designates all member states. The same applies to PCT applications where the EPO is designated.
Opposition to a European patent shall be filed with the EPO within 9 months of the granting of a patent. Appeals against final decisions issued by the EPO may be made to the EPO Appeals Committee within 2 months of the issue of the decision. Violations of European patents valid in Iceland shall be subject to Icelandic laws. Icelandic courts are responsible for resolving such cases.
Follow these links to access forms and list of fees for European patent applications.
Validation of a European patent in Iceland
The following must be filed with the Icelandic Intellectual Property Office within four months of the date EPO published notification of granting the patent in order to confirm a European patent in Iceland, cf. Article 77 of the Patents Act:
Publication fee, as provided for in the list of fees.
An Icelandic translation of the patent claims.
In the event that the patent was granted in French or German, an Icelandic or English translation of the description and other parts of the patent must be filed (it is not necessary to file a translation of the description and other parts of the patent if the patent was granted in English).
Information on the patent's number and the name and address of the patent holder.
An applicant from a member state does not need an agent with respect to the EPO. However, if an agent is appointed, such agent must be a specially trained representative who is registered with the EPO. Furthermore, applicants who do not reside in Iceland must have an agent to act on their behalf with respect to the Icelandic Patent Office, until the patent's take effect in Iceland.
The applicant only needs to submit one application, while the granting of patents, as before, is performed in each individual country and is subject to the rules of that country. The countries party to the Treaty, which includes all major industrial countries in the world, maybe designated in the application.
The WIPO website contains further information on the PCT patents procedure and an interface where applicants can, simply and easily, calculate the various time limits in the PCT patent procedure.
The forms and list of fees for international patent applications (PCT Applications) can be accessed by clicking on the links.
PCT application process in Iceland
If a PCT application is to proceed in Iceland, this must be done within 31 months from the priority date or the application date. The procedure is the same as for national applications, i.e. the forms and fees are the same and handling is similar.
Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) has been an available to applicants in Iceland since 2011. The main goal of PPH co-operation is to accelerate examination of patent applications. By filing a simple request, applicants obtain accelerated processing of a co-pending application at an office acting as Office of Later Examination (OLE), provided that one or more of the claims in an earlier application are indicated to be patentable in the latest office action by the Office of Earlier Examination (OEE). The OLE is, however, not obliged to base grant of a patent on the former examination. The procedure includes that the OLE will make, as possible, use of the examination already performed.