Patentability Requirements in Spain

There are some things that are not inventions, and therefore not patentable (for example discoveries, scientific theories, mathematical methods, literary and artistic works or any other aesthetic creation, as well as scientific works, the plans, rules and methods for games, for the exercise of intellectual or economic/commercial activities, or computer programs — although there are software inventions that can be patented —and the ways of presenting information).

However, the things that are inventions must meet three requirements to be patentable:

  • Novelty: The invention has not been made accessible to the public, in Spain or abroad, by written or oral disclosure, by use, or by any other means, before the filing date of the patent. It does not matter if the applicant him- or herself made the disclosure, or if there was not a large dissemination or coverage: the invention is no longer patentable, and the possible patent in question will either be denied or be void.
  • Inventive activity: The invention should not be apparent to an expert in the subject, taking into account the the state of the art (that is, everything that has been reported in the world before the filing date of the patent in question). That is to say, if an invention is new, it cannot be automatically patented if it seems obvious.
  • Industrial application: This is understood in a broad sense. An invention is industrially applicable if it can be manufactured or used in any type of industry, including agriculture. By law, there are certain things that are not considered as having an industrial application (as noted above, diagnostic methods or surgical or therapeutic methods for the treatment of the human or animal body — but the instruments and apparatuses for such treatments do have industrial application).

Inventions may include products or processes (including among these its uses).

This article is not considered as legal advice

Alexander Zuazo

Lawyer, Industrial Property Attorney and European Trademark and Design Attorney. Working languages: Spanish and English. For any further enquiries please Contact us