Bernabé Zea: “Invention is an indispensable requirement but not the single one to come to fruition in business initiatives”

Xartec Salut’s fourth formative session was led by Bernabé Zea, ZBM Patents and Trademarks CEO and Partner, providing on the key points to successfully protect your inventions by patents, copyright and know-how. 

Bernabé Zea explained the steps to be taken to obtain adequate protection for inventions: 

  • First, different forms of protection (patents, know-how and copyright) were briefly described, as well as the requirements for obtaining them.
  • The expert also talked about the concept of freedom to operate associated with the product or service to be commercialized. 
  • The difference between invention and commercial product was then clarified. How it is possible to protect different aspects of the product through different patents, or by using different forms of protection. How to extrapolate protection from concrete solutions found in the laboratory, to broad inventions that can offer protection to a much more commercially interesting platform was also covered.
  • There are certain discoveries that are not patentable. In addition, in recent years the criteria for exceptions to patentability that exist in Europe and the USA have been separated and have become much more demanding in the USA, especially in the area of diagnostics.
  • What can and cannot be protected in both territories. 
  • Software, an indispensable element in many medical devices, was given special consideration, as it is patent-protectable under certain conditions, but can also be protected by copyright. How to take advantage of this dual protection was explained. Protection through know-how may sometimes be the best route to follow, the specialist described. In the case of patents, the different existing protection routes, the times associated with protection and also the costs. So that the researcher can adjust the protection to the timescale of their research. It was also explained which experiments are necessary to achieve better protection, so that the effectiveness of the experimental results can be maximised.
  • Finally, different examples were used to facilitate the practical application of the course content covered. 

Bernabé Zea has extensive experience in preparing patentability, infringement and freedom-to-operate opinions, negotiating patent licences, conducting due diligence and drafting patents. His practice focuses on organic chemistry and pharmacy, but also includes biotechnology and biochemistry. 


This project is co-funded by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER, Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional).