Patents of Invention

– Patents Act of December 15, 1967, amended on December 13, 2007 for harmonization with the revised European Patent Convention (“EPC 2000”) and entering into force on the same day, amended on November 1, 2011 upon entry into force of the London Agreement on the Application of Article 65 EPC, amended on September 1, 2013 due to the centralization of intellectual property rights court matters to the Finnish Market Court. A new amendment entered into force on January 1, 2017, due to a new Law on Court of Justice.

Membership in International Conventions

– Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, Stockholm Act.
– Convention establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), since September 8, 1970.
– Strasbourg Agreement Concerning the International Patent Classification, since May 16, 1976.
– Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), since October 1, 1980.
– The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (Apostille), since August 26, 1985.
– Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure, since September 1, 1985.
– WTO’s TRIPS Agreement, since January 1, 1995.
– European Patent Convention, since March 1, 1996.
– Patent Law Treaty, since March 6, 2006.
– London Agreement on the Application of Article 65 EPC, in force since November 1, 2011.
– Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPCA), ratified on January 19, 2016.


Applicant: inventors or legal successors (individual, firm, company, etc.).

Foreigners and nationals not living in the country: have to appoint a patent attorney living in the European Economic Area (EEA).

Naming of inventor: the inventor’s full name and address must be stated. If a patent is applied for by anyone other than the inventor, the applicant must give a statement providing its rights to the invention.

Patentability: inventions which are new, which involve an inventive step and which are susceptible of industrial application are patentable.

Novelty: the prior art comprises everything made available to the public either in writing, orally, by public use or otherwise, anywhere in the world. Novelty bar is also the contents of any Finnish patent application or Finnish application for a right to a utility model of an earlier date not yet made available to the public, provided that the application in question is later made available to the public, or any European patent application published in accordance with the EPC. There is no novelty grace period.

Unpatentable inventions: plant and animal varieties or essentially biological processes for the production of plants or animals. Inventions which concern plants or animals shall be patentable if the technical feasibility of the invention is not confined to a particular plant or animal variety. The human body, at the various stages of its formation and development, and the simple discovery of one of its elements, including the sequence or partial sequence of a gene, cannot constitute patentable inventions. An element isolated from the human body or otherwise produced by means of a technical process, including the sequence or partial sequence of a gene, may constitute a patentable invention, even if the structure of that element is identical to that of a natural element. The industrial application of a sequence or a partial sequence of a gene must be disclosed in the patent application. Inventions shall be considered unpatentable where their commercial exploitation would be contrary to order public or morality; however, exploitation shall not be deemed to be so contrary merely because it is prohibited by law or regulation, the following, in particular, shall be considered unpatentable: (a) processes for cloning human beings; (b) processes for modifying the germ line genetic identity of human beings; (c) uses of human embryos for industrial or commercial purposes; (d) processes for modifying the genetic identity of animals which are likely to cause them suffering without any substantial medical benefit to man or animal, and also animals resulting from such processes.

Microorganisms: if new microorganisms are involved in an application, deposition is required before filing date or, if priority is claimed, on or before priority date.

Kinds of protection: (1) patents; (2) secret patents of the State.

Supplementary Protection Certificates: applications for SPCs may be filed for medicinal products and plant protection products. The application for an SPC should be filed within six months from the grant of the patent or the first marketing authorization for the compound, whichever is the later. It is possible to apply for a six-month extension of the term of an SPC for paediatric medicinal products. Such extension must be applied for at the latest two years before the expiry of the term of the SPC.

Priorities: the claiming of more than one priority is possible.

Filing requirements for an application (to be sent to resident agent):
1. Power of attorney (no legalization required);
2. Specification and abstract;
3. Drawings (if any), size 21 x 29.7 cm, black lines on white background;
4. A statement which proves the applicant’s rights to the invention, e.g. an assignment (no legalization) from the inventor or reference to the Law on employee’s invention, if applicable;
5. Full name, domicile and address of inventor and applicant;
6. Certified copy of the priority document;
7. Assignment of priority, if applicable.

Priority: priority may be claimed from earlier patent applications and applications for utility models. Priority should be claimed within sixteen months after the filing of the application constituting the first priority. A Finnish patent application claiming priority must however be filed within a twelve-month period as calculated from the (earliest) priority claimed. In the case of an International patent application the priority must be claimed in the application. The applicant may within sixteen months from the earliest priority date add or correct a priority claim. If the addition or correction causes a change in the priority date, the date may be notified within sixteen months from either the original or the changed priority date, whichever sixteen-month period expires first. If the sixteen-month time limit has expired, but four months have not yet passed from the filing date of the application, the applicant may submit the notification within these four months. A priority date may not however be added or corrected if the application has been published. A certified copy of the basic application must be filed within sixteen months from the priority date. If the applicant in the basic application and in the Finnish application is not the same, an assignment of priority rights must be filed.

Minimum requirements for filing: a national patent application is given a filing date provided that (1) it is apparent from the application that it is a patent application; (2) the application contains information on who the applicant is or how the applicant may be contacted; and (3) the documents filed in conjunction with the application contain such information that may be considered as a description or drawing, or the application contains a reference to an earlier made patent or utility model application and the applicant has provided such application’s particulars of the filing date, application number and the patent authority with which this earlier application was filed. If the application does not include the above-mentioned particulars, the applicant is given an invitation to correct the deficiencies within a period of two months. If the deficiencies are not corrected within this period or the applicant could not be contacted, the application will be considered to have never been filed. On the other hand, if the applicant corrects the deficiencies in the application, the date when all the above-mentioned deficiencies have been corrected will become the filing date.

Electronic filing: available; over 95% of applications are filed electronically. If an application is filed in paper format the official filing fee is raised by EUR 100.

Electronic signatures: are accepted.

PCT applications: time limit for entering the national Finnish phase of a PCT application for both Chapters I and II: 31 months from priority date. A translation into Finnish (or Swedish) or English of the international application, or a copy of the application if it is drawn up in Finnish (or Swedish) or English, must be filed within 31 months from the priority date. An extension of two months is obtainable for filing the translation. Priority documents have to be filed only upon request.

The World Intellectual Property Organization has, on September 24, 2003, unanimously accepted the Finnish Patent and Registration Office as an international PCT Authority. Finland became the eleventh State in the world authorized to carry out searches and patentability examinations in respect of international patent applications.

European Patents: Finland joined the EPC on March 1, 1996. Exclusive rights can be claimed in Finland based on a published European patent application designating Finland provided that a Finnish translation of the claims has been filed with the Finnish Patent Office. It is not required to appoint a national professional representative. A European patent designating Finland will have the same effect in Finland as a national Finnish patent provided that the translation of at least the claims of the granted European patent is filed and the publication fee paid with the Finnish Patent Office within three months from the publication of the grant. Finland has ratified the London Agreement with entry into force on November 1, 2011. For European patents where the mention of the grant was published on or after November 1, 2011, a translation into Finnish of at least the claims needs to be filed. For European patents where the procedural language is French or German, a translation into Finnish or English of the description is also required in addition to a translation of the claims into Finnish. However, at the patentee's choosing, it is always possible to file a translation into Finnish of the description and possible accompanying drawings. If the patentee's own language is Swedish, the required translation may be filed in Swedish. Renewal fees: the renewal fees due at validation are not due for payment until the last date of the third month following the month the patent was granted.

Examination Procedure

Examination: formal and as to novelty and patentability.

Accelerated examination: available under the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) program and fast-track processing. PPH: an applicant receiving positive examination results from an Office of first filing/earlier examination/PCT examination may request for examination in respect of allowable claims. Finland is part of the Global PPH agreement. Additionally, Finland has separate pilot programs with the following Offices: IPO-CZ (Czech Republic), EAPO (Eurasian Patent Organization) and CNIPA (China). Fast-track: can be be requested at filing if the invention relates to bioeconomy, circular economy or clean technology solutions; the applicant intends to file a PPH request based on the application or there is an important economic reason, or some other strong argument. After a granted fast-track processing request, the first Office action will be provided within three months from initiation of examination.

Amendment of application: the application must not be amended with regard to subject matter which did not appear in the application documents at the time of filing. After the notice of acceptance, the patent claims may not be broadened. If the application is non-uniform the examination will be carried out as to the invention first defined in the claims. The Office will issue a notification as to non-unity of the inventions. After the examination has been carried out for the first invention the applicant cannot restrict the application to an invention which is not depending on the examined invention.

Right of prior user: anyone who was using the invention in good faith at the time of filing, or had made substantial preparations to that effect, may continue to use it in his business provided he does so in the same manner as before.

Disputes about ownership: if anyone makes a claim to the Patent Office that he is the true owner of the invention and not the applicant, and if the case is considered uncertain, the Patent Office may direct the claimant to bring an action before a court of law.

Division and branching: independent inventions described in a patent application when filed may be divided as from the filing date of the said patent application. A divisional application may be filed at any time before the notice of acceptance in accordance with Section 19 of the Patent Act. “New matter” introduced into an application during its prosecution may be subjected to a new branched off application with an effective filing date as from the date of introduction.

Publication of application: from the day on which the patent is granted, the documents are available to the public. Documents are also available to the public when eighteen months from the filing or priority date have passed or earlier on the request of the applicant.

Opposition: an opposition to the granted patent can be filed within nine months from the date of grant. The parties to an opposition may request an oral hearing, but it is at the discretion of the Patent Office to decide whether oral hearings will be held or not.

Appeal: a party to a decision of the Patent Office may appeal the decision to the Market Court. The decision of the Market Court may with leave to appeal be appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court.

Request for restriction: it is possible for a patent proprietor to request the Patent Office to restrict his/her patent retroactively to a part of its original scope, e.g. in order to avoid a possible nullity action or to adapt the patent to the state of prior art. A request that the patent be restricted can be filed only by the owner of the patent. The request should be filed with the Patent Office. The request must include the name and address of the patent proprietor, patent number, restricted claims, description and drawings, if amended, and the prescribed fee. If a nullity action has been taken, the owner of the patent can file the request only with the court before the case proceeds from preparation to the main hearing. The court will decide on the restriction issue separately before the nullity action proceeds.

Request for revocation: a patent proprietor may retroactively request the Patent Office for revocation of his/her patent with effect as from the application date.

Procedural languages: starting from November 1, 2011 national patent applications may in addition to Finnish (or Swedish) be filed in English. An application filed in English may upon request of the applicant be handled up to grant in English. Claims as filed need however be translated into Finnish (or Swedish) before eighteen months have elapsed from the filing date or priority date. If the claims are amended before grant, the amended claims as allowed need to be translated into Finnish (or Swedish). However, in possible appeal or opposition proceedings or infringement cases the whole specification must be translated into Finnish (or Swedish).


Delivery of document: the Letters Patent is issued in digital format. It is possible to request in paper format; must be requested upon responding to the communication of approval.

Duration: a granted patent may be kept in force until twenty years have passed from the day on which the patent application was filed.

Extension through SPC: Supplementary Protection Certificates can be obtained since July 1, 1994 for pharmaceutical products, and since February 8, 1997 for plant protection products. A six-month extension of the term of an SPC for paediatric medicinal products can be obtained since January 26, 2007. A manufacturing exemption (manufacturing waiver) in accordance with EC 469/2009 as amended with effect from July 1, 2019 requires registration with the Patent Office and payment of a publication fee.

Annuities: are due for applications as well as for patents. The annuities for years 1-3 become due on the third year, after which the fees are to be paid annually. Due date is the last day of the month of the filing.

Annuity grace period: annuities may be paid within six months after the due date, on payment of a 20% fine.

Marking: the marking of patented goods is not obligatory. Anyone who indicates that a patent has been applied for or granted, without simultaneously giving information with regard to the serial number of the application or the patent, is obliged, upon request, to give such information without delay.

Assignment – license: a patent application or a patent can be assigned or a license given for working the invention. If the patentee has granted another party the right to exploit the invention commercially (license), the licensee may assign his right to others only if an agreement has been made to that effect. If a patent has been assigned to another party or a license has been granted, this may, upon request, be recorded in the Patent Register. It is recommended to have an assignment registered since the person last recorded in the Register as the patentee shall be deemed the proprietor for the purposes of lawsuits and for other matters concerning the patent.

Change of name or address: the request for change of name or address of the applicant or owner of a patent must include the patent or application number, the changed details, and the signature of the applicant/owner or the representative. A power of attorney is required. For foreign applicants or owners, a request for change of name or address must be supported by a copy of a document indicating the new name or address, such as an identity card or a Trade Register extract. Scanned copies of supporting documents suffice, and there is no need for notarization or legalization.

Working: if, three years after the granting of the patent or four years after the filing of the patent application, the invention is not worked in Finland to a reasonable extent, anyone who wishes to work the invention in Finland may obtain a compulsory license if no acceptable excuses for failure to work the invention are made. Export to Finland is considered equivalent to working the invention in Finland.

Compulsory license: a compulsory license may only be granted to a person deemed to possess the necessary prerequisites to exploit the invention and who, prior to the claim for the compulsory license, has verifiably tried to obtain a license on reasonable commercial conditions.

Infringement of patented methods: the burden of proof lies on the alleged infringer.

Exclusive rights conferred by a patent not applicable to: (1) use which is not commercial; (2) use of a patented product that has been put on the market within the European Economic Area by the proprietor of the patent or with his consent; (3) use in experiments relating to the invention as such; (4) examinations or experiments or measures arising from practical demands which are needed for an application to obtain a marketing authorization for a medicinal product and which relate to the invention concerning that medicinal product; (5) preparation in a pharmacy of a medicine prescribed by a physician in individual cases or treatment given with the aid of a medicine so prepared; (6) use of biological material for the processing or discovery and development of other plant varieties; or (7) the permitted activities referred to in Articles 5 and 6 of Directive 2009/24/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the legal protection of computer programs and the use of information obtained.