Patent Knowledge Quiz

The following 20 questions are designed to demonstrate key points about patents (see Top 10 things to know about patents) in a contextual framework. It is by way of encounters with real-life situations that the facts and theory of patent law and procedures are learned.

These particular questions focus mainly on patent standards and minimum requirements as set out in the Trade Related Intellectual Property Aspects Agreement, better known as TRIPs, an international treaty acceded to by over 140 countries. Implementation of the standards and requirements occur by legislation in member countries, and as such, patent law varies somewhat among the members. Historically, the patent law system of the United States exhibits some substantial differences to the system of Europe and many other countries. Because the United States has one of the largest and most established patent systems, some of the questions are designed to illustrate these differences.

The original recipients of this quiz were enthusiastic about it as a learning tool. We hope you enjoy it, learn from it, and improve your own skills.

Question A:

A patent gives the owner the right to:

  1. make her invention
  2. commercialize her invention
  3. publish the results of tests using the invention
  4. keep others from making her invention
  5. collect a monetary award from the government
  6. 1 and 2
  7. all of the above

Answer

Question B:

A policy (or policies) behind the patent system is:

  1. to encourage an inventor to disclose an invention by granting exclusive rights over the invention to the inventor.
  2. to benefit the public by limiting the scope and term of the exclusive rights granted to an inventor.
  3. to benefit the public through encouraging innovation by publishing a full disclosure of the technical details of the invention.
  4. to benefit the public through guaranteeing that the inventor can commercialize his/her invention
  5. 1 and 2
  6. 1, 2 and 3
  7. 2, 3 and 4

Answer

Question C:

The minimum requirements for obtaining a patent are that the invention must be:

  1. novel
  2. non-obvious or include an inventive step
  3. useful or capable of industrial application
  4. 1 and 2
  5. 1 and 2 and 3

Answer

Question D:

An inventor was awarded a patent in the U.K. on a method for selecting transformed plants and has practiced the mentioned method only in the U.K. Six months later, another person who independently invented the same method in Australia wants to obtain a patent in Australia. She:

  1. could do it without major problems
  2. would not be able to do it because the granted patent was published in the U.K.
  3. would not be able to do it because the method is used in the U.K.
  4. 2 and 3
  5. none of the above

Answer

Question E:

The method mentioned above was not patented or published anywhere but has been used in the U.K. and only in the U.K. since 1997. Another person who independently invented the same method in Australia in 2001 wants to obtain a patent in Australia. She:

  1. could do it without major problems
  2. would not be able to do it because the invented method has been used in the U.K.
  3. could do it only if the method has not been described in a written publication anywhere in the world
  4. 1 and 3
  5. none of the above

Answer

Question F:

A patent application is filed on 1 January 1999. The application is published 18 months later on 1 July 2000 and granted on 30 May 2001. The patent is valid until:

  1. 30 May 2021; 20 years from the grant date of the patent
  2. 1 July 2020; 20 years from the publication date of the application
  3. 1 January 2019; 20 years from the filing date of the application
  4. some other date

Answer

Question G:

A patent awarded by the patent office in Japan is valid in:

  1. Indonesia and its territories
  2. Japan and its territories
  3. All ASEAN countries
  4. All countries that adhere to TRIPS

Answer

Question H:

Assuming an applicant has indicated a desire to have a patent valid in all European countries and elects to have the application examined by the European Patent Office, a regional patent office, the patent that is ultimately granted is valid:

  1. automatically in all countries that are members of the European Patent Office
  2. automatically in all European countries, regardless of whether they are member
  3. upon registration in each country that supports the European Patent Office

Answer

Question I:

An international patent:

  1. is the result of an international application filed under the international Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
  2. is valid in all member countries of the PCT
  3. is valid only in the PCT countries designated by the applicant upon filing the application
  4. 1 and 2
  5. 1 and 3
  6. there is no such thing as an international patent

Answer

Question J:

You have a granted patent in the United States and in Australia on using GUSPlus, a very sensitive detection system for identifying transformed plants.  A couple of colleagues of yours are working at an Australian non-profit research institute and another is working at Cornell University in the United States, and they want to use the GUSPlus system for research purposes to identify transgenic plants. They can:

  1. use it freely without the need to tell you
  2. use it, but they should tell you first
  3. use it only if they get a license or some other form of permission from you
  4. cannot use it at all

Answer

Question K:

You are a farmer growing Bt-transgenic soybeans in Argentina and Humongous Company, a very large multi-national agricultural company, has a valid patent in the United States, but not in Argentina, that claims Bt-transgenic soybeans. You will be:

  1. infringing Humongous' patent rights by growing Bt-transgenic soybeans in Argentina
  2. infringing Humongous' patent rights by growing Bt-transgenic soybeans and saving seeds for next sowing season in Argentina
  3. infringing Humongous' patent rights by exporting Bt-transgenic soybeans to the U.S.
  4. none of the above

Answer

Question L:

A published patent specification:

  1. is always a granted patent and is enforceable
  2. is always an application for a patent and is not enforceable
  3. is always an application for a patent and is enforceable
  4. could be either a granted patent or a patent application

Answer

Question M:

A PCT publication is:

  1. always a granted patent
  2. sometimes a granted patent
  3. always a patent application

Answer

Question N:

If you want to know what is actually covered by a granted patent, you will look at:

  1. the title
  2. the title and the abstract
  3. the abstract
  4. the detailed description of the invention and the drawings
  5. the detailed description of the invention and the claims
  6. the claims

Answer

Question O:

A published application in Brazil describes the cloning of glycosyltransferases, enzymes that transfer sugar moieties, from five different bacteria including Staphylococcus, Pneumococcus, Arthrobacter, Clavibacter, and Thermobacter, and teaches how to obtain genes encoding the same enzymes from other bacterial genera. The only claim recites:
"An isolated DNA sequence encoding a glycosyltransferase isolated from Staphylococcus".

You need a license before you can use DNA encoding the following in Brazil:

  1. a glycosyltransferase from Staphylococcus 
  2. a glycosyltransferase from Haemophilus 
  3. a glycosyltransferase from Pneumococcus 
  4. 1 and 3
  5. none of the above

Answer

Question P:

The publication mentioned above is a Brazilian granted patent.  You need a license before you can use DNA encoding the following in Brazil:

  1. a glycosyltransferase from Staphylococcus 
  2. a glycosyltransferase from Haemophilus 
  3. a glycosyltransferase from Pneumococcus 
  4. 1 and 3
  5. none of the above

Answer

Question Q:

Two independent inventors come up with the same patentable invention and each of them decides to file a patent application in Canada, Germany and the United States. Who would get the patents?

  1. in each country, the first one to file the patent application
  2. in Canada, the first to file the patent application, and in Germany and the United States, the first to invent the invention
  3. in Germany, the first to file the patent application, and in Canada and the United States, the first to invent the invention
  4. in Canada and Germany, the first to file the patent application, and in the United States, the first to invent the invention
  5. in each country, the first to invent

Answer

Question R:

If you infringe a patent:

  1. you go to jail if caught
  2. you pay a large fine to the government
  3. the owner of the patent will sue you in a court
  4. nothing may happen
  5. 2 and 3 are both possible
  6. 3 and 4 are both possible

Answer

Question S:

You and a couple of colleagues are the inventors of a new drug that successfully tackles stomach cancer and has few unwanted side effects. Your colleagues decide to publish the methodology used to develop the drug in a prestigious scientific journal. The article is published in January 2001 and the research results are presented in two international conferences in March 2001 with great success. In the meantime, your team realizes that it would be worthwhile obtaining a patent for the new drug. A patent specification is diligently prepared and filed in the United States and with the European Patent Office in April 2001. Which of the following scenarios is the most likely:

  1. because the invented drug fulfills the criteria for patentability, your team is awarded the patent in both jurisdictions.
  2. because the invention was published before the filing of the patent application, your team is denied a patent in both jurisdictions.
  3. because the invention was published within one year of the filing of the patent application, your team is allowed a patent in both jurisdictions.
  4. because the invention was published within one year of the filing of the patent application, your team is denied a patent in Europe, but granted in the United States

Answer

Question T:

A patent on a method to heal wounds using turmeric has been granted in both Europe and in the U.S. in January 2001. You, as a person not involved at all in the alleged invention, have written evidence proving that the method was well-known not only in the mentioned places, but also in other parts of the world. You find out about the patent in August 2001. In the present circumstances you could:

  1. file an opposition against the granted patent before the patent offices in both the United States and in Europe alleging lack of novelty
  2. file an opposition against the granted patent before the United States patent office alleging lack of novelty
  3. file an opposition against the granted patent before the European patent office alleging lack of novelty

Answer

Question U:

The following is a good reason to search for patents and patent applications with the CAMBIA Patent Lens search:

  1. for scientific information
  2. for information on freedom to operate
  3. to see if your idea is patentable (novel and non-obvious)
  4. to see what your competitor is up to
  5. 2, 3, and 4
  6. all of the above

Answer

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