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Nordic Patent Institute
Helgeshøj Allé 81
2630 Taastrup, Denmark
Tlf: +45 43 50 85 00
Anette Hegner, IP Consultant and Partner at Hegner & Partners
A quick international search report at Nordic Patent Institute (NPI) gives Hegner & Partners time to help customers make the right business decisions
For Anette Hegner, daily work consists of preparing and implementing patent strategies for companies, including those that operate globally. Anette has an extensive knowledge of patent law and practice, both in Europe and beyond, but in her experience other factors must be in place for her to be an attractive advisor to her clients.
"The IP systems should be easy to work within, so that we can act flexibly with regard to our customers' wants and needs. Therefore, we have carefully chosen the authorities we work with, "says Anette Hegner.
For companies that operate internationally, the PCT system gives time to assess whether or not to proceed with a particular invention, and if so, to how wide a geographical extent. However, it is important for some companies to obtain a patent quickly. Time is one of the reasons why Anette Hegner now uses only NPI as a PCT authority.
"We have used various other PCT authorities in the past, but we found that we received search results so late that we hardly had time to use them before we had to continue nationally with the application," says Anette Hegner. When there is no time to evaluate the search results, the company may find itself concentrating its efforts in the wrong place. This can have significant business consequences. "We receive the international search report very quickly at NPI, and this is something that is of great value to our customers," she continues.
One of the other benefits that Anette Hegner mentions is the quality of searches at NPI.
"It is rarely our experience that material is found late in the process that should have been found before," she says. NPI conducts its own search report, and may not inspect the search report from the national priority application unless the customer asks for it.
"It's always good to have a fresh pair of eyes on the patent application, as it can present the material from other angles," says Anette Hegner and points out that a national priority application and a subsequent PCT application are never handled by the same examiner at NPI.
She also emphasizes the benefits of NPI's practice of dividing applications, which only happens to a limited extent. At NPI the examiners search the whole scope of the application. "Whenever NPI have assessed that there are multiple inventions in an application, we have understood the argumentation. This has not always been the case with other authorities," says Anette Hegner.
When it comes to formalities regarding international patent applications, it is nice to be able to communicate directly with the authority. "With some PCT authorities it can be difficult to get through to the person you need to speak to, which is frustrating on a busy work day. This is not the case with NPI," says Anette Hegner.
For Hegner & Partners' patent administrators, cooperation with NPI has a good impact on efficiency. "They are pleased they can communicate closely with NPI, as this means that errors in the formal elements of the application can be cleared up simply and quickly with an examiner over the phone or at a meeting. A good service is one that creates flexibility within the system's framework," she concludes.
Hegner & Partners is a consultancy company providing specialised strategic patent counselling. The company was established in 2008.