I have to present a patent for a new instrument invented by me. On one hand I don’t want to lose time to prevent that someone else patents it before me, but on the other hand I am worried that it can be improved and therefore someone could get around it. If I patent it now can I claim rights even on the improvements?

It is perfectly understandable that who has invented something may be concerned about the discovery that someone else might have beaten him to it by a flash. Obviously it is better proceeding with the patent application as soon as possible, but it is sensible to have a clear idea on what we want to protect. It is easy to protect an invention when this, in its entirety, is obvious; but several factors need to be considered in order to grasp the actual range of this protection. If the invention is strongly innovative and we patent the basic technical advantage, whether it is a particular mechanism, or a particular electronic system, we will have a very wide protection. In this instance, anyone making improvements on these could nevertheless patent them, but in order to exploit them, from the commercial point of view, should get authorization from the first inventor, which could then have peace of mind. On the other hand, if the invention is only partially innovative, i.e. it alters an existing technique only in some secondary aspects, the protection will only refer to these last ones, thus not preventing others finding further different means to improve on it without falling into the ambit of the first patent. The advisable thing to do is to patent the form we consider the best possible one, but unfortunately, often it can happen that progressing from the actual idea to producing it, the initial project changes and therefore it may be necessary to apply for a new patent on this improvement.