Unique invention “Innovative research system for peripheral vestibular function testing creation – INTVEST” created by Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) and Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LSMU) is aiming to be patented. It is expected that the innovative device, which was firstly introduced at the annual KTU innovation fair “Technorama 2016” will hit the market soon.
Degeneration of vestibular system is common among elderly people and causes such health problems as dizziness and loss of balance. This invention applies virtual reality technologies to test peripheral vestibular system. Such use of virtual reality for an assessment of perception of the subjective visual vertical helps to examine elderly people with suspect vestibular function disorder faster. Also, irregularities are identified faster, which allows to provide proper rehabilitation and protective recommendations.
A portable device consists of Oculus Rift virtual reality glasses with an orientation sensor, manipulator, computer, Unity game engine and MS Visual Studio 2015 software development environment.
Greta Žėkienė, Head of Intellectual Property Management Projects at KTU National Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre (NIEC), told us more about the process of patenting.
Why is it worth to patent an invention? How does the procedure work?
A patent protects inventions, i.e. solutions of technical or technological nature that can be applied to industry, health, agriculture or other areas, and that were not known or apparent to professionals in their field until now. When a new product is created, it does not obtain protection automatically. For that purpose, it is necessary to submit an application to the Patent Office where experts evaluate an invention and decide whether it is patentable. No one can use a patented invention license except a proprietor. It is, therefore, advised to immediately patent inventions, which have a commercial value and potential interested parties.
KTU has the Electronic invention disclosure system. In a period of one month, after creating an object of intellectual property, the member of University community, the author of an idea is obliged to report it by filling the special form (http://22.214.171.124/M/Invention/Project/Form1.aspx). The requirements of confidentiality are applied for the information disclosed. Then, after examining the submitted information, the special technology transfer board of experts decide on invention patenting, reimbursement of expenses and commercialisation opportunities. The inventor receives 40%–60% of revenue from knowledge or patent licensing.
What are the key points that the person willing to fill in the patent application needs to know?
It is not that simple to prepare a high-quality patent application and to carry out all necessary work. It is essential to draw up a patent application, because clearly defined conditions set out therein must be complied with by inventors and third parties. A patent application can be written by anyone in theory, but typically it is prepared and submitted to the patent offices by patent agents, as preparing and submitting procedure is a technically complex process.
How long does it take to get the patent?
On average the process of applying and issuing a patent requires a period of two months up to four years. Everything depends on how soon after an invention disclosure a patent application is drawn up. The period for issuing depends on a country, actions of an applicant and compliance with time limits established by legislation.