What can be patented?

A patent protects a practical solution to a technical problem. A patent can only be granted for an invention.

You can get a patent for technical products, processes or methods if the invention is new, innovative and useful. Useful means that the invention must work, and if you want to earn money from your invention, it should also be of use to someone.

Your invention must represent a practical solution to a problem, where the solution has technical character, technical effect and is capable of being manufactured (reproducible).

Processes, products, devices and methods can be patented. For example, blood analysis, computer technology and zip fastners.

You can not get a patent for an idea without explaining or showing how it can be implemented in practice. You can not get a patent for a business concept.

An invention must be new

The invention must not have been made known to others before the day on which the patent application is filed. It may also be an advantage to keep your idea concealed until you receive a written statement of patentability from us for your invention, as there may be errors in your application which make it necessary for you to file a new application. In this case it is important that your invention has not been made public in the meantime.

Have others seen your invention?

If you wish to show your invention to a potential manufacturer or investor, it is important to emphasize that information concerning the invention is to be kept secret. The party concerned should sign a confidentiality agreement so you do not risk your idea becoming known.

Keep your idea secret: The most frequent mistake an inventor can make is to publish an idea prematurely. If you reveal your idea before filing the patent application, you have then published your invention. This may prevent you from getting a patent.

For example, if any information concerning the invention has been mentioned in earlier patents, journals or other publications (applies world-wide), or if the invention has been shown at an exhibition or during a lecture, described in a newspaper, on the internet, in a brochure or verbally.

Have you seen an interesting product at a trade fair?

If a product has been shown at an exhibition, it can no longer be considered new, and can therefore not be patented in Norway. If you have seen an interesting product at an exhibition abroad, and no-one has applied for patent protection for the product in Norway, you may manufacture and sell the product in Norway, as long as it is not in conflict with any other laws or regulations such as marketing legislation.

Inventive step

Inventive step means that the invention must differ significantly from previous technology in the area. It cannot be merely the next logical stage in a known technical process, obvious to someone with knowledge and experience in the subject.

Capable of being manufactured

The invention must have technical character and it must be possible to mass produce the product. You cannot patent a business concept.


If you have any questions, call our Customer Service Centre 

Thank you for your feedback! If you need an answer, call +47 22 38 73 00 and talk to our Customer Service Centre.
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