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Patentability What are the criteria for patentability in your jurisdiction? A national patent may be granted in respect of an invention that relates to either a new product or a novel process. Under the Patent Law, there are four basic criteria for patentability – the invention must:
- belong to a field of technology;
- be new;
- involve an inventive step; and
- be susceptible of industrial application.
What are the limits on patentability? Although the Patent Law does not define the term ‘invention’, it does contain a non-exhaustive list of what are not considered inventions and are thus excluded from patentability by law – in particular:
- discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods;
- aesthetic creations;
- schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, playing games or doing business;
- computer programs; and
- presentations of information.
These exclusions apply only to the extent that a patent application or patent relates to excluded subject matter or activities as such. In other words, an invention is not excluded simply because it includes an element that is not patentable.
Further, under the Patent Law, patents cannot be granted in respect of:
- inventions whose exploitation is contrary to public order or morality – including inventions that are harmful to the health or life of humans, animals or plants, and which are likely to cause serious harm to the environment (this exception from patentability is not dependent on whether exploitation is prohibited by a legal provision);
- plant varieties and animal breeds, as well as essentially biological processes for the production of plants or animals. This provision does not apply to microbiological processes or products obtained thereby;
- inventions whose subject matter is the human body in its various stages of formation and development, as well as the mere discovery of one of its elements, including the sequence or partial sequence of a gene; and
- surgical or therapeutic treatment methods concerning humans or animals and methods of diagnosis applied to humans or animals. This does not apply to products – in particular, substances or compositions used in treatment methods.
Are there restrictions on any other kinds of invention? No other exceptions from patentability are provided under the Romanian Patent Law, which is fully harmonised with the European Patent Convention.
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