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Applying for a patent

What are the criteria for patentability in your jurisdiction?

As in many other European countries, there are four criteria for patentability in the Czech Republic:

  • novelty;
  • inventive step;
  • industrial applicability; and
  • patent-eligible subject matter.

As far as novelty is concerned, inventions must be new on a worldwide basis (they cannot form part of the state of the art before the priority date of the application). The requirement of inventive step is met when the invention is not obvious to a person skilled in the art. The requirement of industrial applicability is satisfied if the invention can be made or otherwise used in industry, agriculture or other economic areas. Czech patent law also states that the following cannot be considered inventions:

  • discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods;
  • aesthetic creations;
  • plans, rules and methods for performing mental activities, playing games or doing business;
  • computer programs; and
  • provision of information. 

What are the limits on patentability?

The general limits on patentability are threefold. Under Czech law, the following cannot be patented:

  • surgical or therapeutic treatment and diagnostic methods in relation to both humans and animals;
  • inventions whose use is contrary to public order or morality; and
  • plant or animal varieties or essentially biological processes for the production of plants or animals.

In addition, further exclusions concerning biotech patents exist. In particular, the human body at the various stages of its formation and development – including gene sequences – cannot be patented, unless an element is isolated from the human body or otherwise produced by means of a technical process (even if the structure of the element is identical to a natural element). In addition, the following processes are all considered contrary to public order or good morals and thus are not patentable:

  • the cloning of humans and modification of the germ line or genetic identity of humans;
  • the use of human embryos for industrial or commercial purposes; and
  • certain processes for modifying the genetic identity of animals. 

Are there restrictions on any other kinds of invention?

Apart from those described above, no specific restrictions on other kinds of invention exist.

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