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Prior to a patent being granted on your invention, your patent application undergoes a thorough examination procedure during which the patentability requirements are assessed.

Patent procedure

The patent application procedure comprises 4 main phases:

patent procedure

Patents vs publication

Publication of your research results can be combined with patent prosecution. It just takes the right strategy since any public disclosure (presentation, abstract, paper, thesis, etc) prior to a patent application can be detrimental to the patentability of your invention, regardless of the location of the disclosure, the carrier, its nature, etc. Therefore, publication of your invention should only occur after filing a patent application and after having disclosed and discussed your research results to the VUB TechTransfer IP team. If you have any doubt or questions, do not hesitate to contact us. Our invention disclosure form is downloadable here.

Furthermore, any party outside VUB cannot get a patent granted on inventions that have been publicly disclosed by VUB. As such, by combining patent applications with academic publication(s) we can safeguard freedom to operate to your inventions and research results, while preserving your academic output.

Patents vs software

Software code (as well as other aspects such as software architecture, flow charts, etc) is protected via copyright. However, software code implements algorithms that might be patentable (if novel, inventive and sufficient technical effect). A patent would provide protection of such algorithm regardless of the way it is being expressed in code.

Since patent applications are published, patent databases might also contain a lot of interesting information to develop your own solutions. Many patents listed in the patent databases might not be granted or might no longer be valid (in Belgium or other countries) and consequently the information contained might be free to be used.


Hugo Loosvelt
IP & Licensing Manager