Guide to business in Spain Guía de negocios en España


3. Protection of inventions in Spain


Inventions may be protected in Spanish law through patents and utility models.

3.1. What is a patent?

Patents are exclusive rights granted by the State to the inventor in his invention for a specific term (20 years) on the understanding that once this period has expired, the invention will enter the public domain. Thus society benefits from the technical advantage provided by the invention.

3.2. How can you register a patent in Spain?

In addition to filing a patent application at the OEPM, regional registration systems are also available. Such systems allow the applicant to obtain protection for the invention in one or more countries and each country determines whether or not to protect the patent in its territory pursuant to applicable legislation.

The application process before the OEPM can take a minimum of 30 months.

The patent owner may exploit the invention and prevent third parties from exploiting, marketing, or launching it in the market without consent. While the patent is in force, third parties may only exploit the invention if the owner has granted a license.

3.3. What kinds of inventions are patentable?

In order for an invention to be patentable, it must be new, involve inventive step and be capable of industrial application. Consequently, the three main requirements to obtain a patent are as follows:

  1. Absolute novelty.
  2. Inventive step.
  3. Industrial application.

Scientific discoveries or theories, mathematical methods, literary, scientific, artistic works and any other aesthetic creations, rules and methods of performing a mental act, playing a game or doing business are not considered patentable. Neither is it possible to obtain a patent for inventions that are contrary to public policy, plant varieties (which have their own special legislation) animal breeds, essentially biological processes for the production of plants or animals and the human body.

3.4. Are bio-technological inventions patentable in Spain?

The Spanish Patents Law includes the legal protection of bio-technological inventions, although clear restrictions are established based on ethics and public policy.

Guide to business in Spain

Intellectual property law


ICEX - Gobierno de España - Ministerio de Economía y competitividad
Elaborado por Garrigues - Abogados y Asesores Tributarios
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