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Longer story short, recently I (and a couple of friends) won a technological contest in Portugal. To enter and win it, we had to submit a technical drawing and explanation of a possible invention/product. When I found out about the contest it was 2 days before the submissions closed, logically I didn't have time to seek legal advice, and reading the terms it seemed pretty much fine to me. Only later did I realize that things weren't the way I'd like them to be. Everything submitted until now is not anonymous, but still, protected by the Intellectual Property law governing in Portugal (not so different from EU in general). My question is on the following points of the contest regulation (I haven't signed any contract with them so far, so they haven't sponsored us in any way, shape, or form). (loosely translated from Portuguese to English)

  1. The authors of the projects candidates are holders of the intellectual property rights.
  2. If the final product (or intermediates resulting from the proof of concept to be carried out after selection of [[Projects]]), can be protected through a given modality of intellectual property or industrial (IP), the consortium, will provide support and individualized counseling for registration with the Institute National Industrial Property (INPI).
  3. If the results referred to in resulting from activities R & D developed or supported by the [[Consortium]] members, the consortium reserves the right to do so ("in its own name" as I understand it), respecting the Intellectual Property Rights of the inventors.

What I am really afraid of is the 3rd point. As far as I read the Industrial Property law, a consortium/company can't be the inventor, but CAN be the owner of the patent. So, I am afraid of a situation within the lines of: "We work to make and invent the product, which they support with human and financial resources, and at the end, we will be listed as (co-) inventors, but they will be the owners of commercial exclusivity of such patent"

A) Is my interpretation wrong, I am not in any way familiar with law, at least professionaly?

A technical description of the product has been made available/submitted solely to this contest, which maintains within the regulation that It will not disclose publicly the invention. Which means, that it is still new, and therefore, patentable. Which makes for my second question

B) Should I sign for a Provisional Patent Aplication with the INPI, before I sign any contract with them?

  • I suggest moving this to patents.stackexchange.com. – George White Jun 15 at 19:52

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