Can we patent a building? Yes, you can, especially if you are an architect or any professional designer. You can patent the building, like the plan and the design. There are several things you have to know.
The copyright law
The building and its design are intellectual properties. Actually it has automatic protection. Once you make your designs or buildings, you already have the copyright. However,the protection of the copyright is very weak. If there is a condition where the third party reproduces another original idea, they have their own right though the designs might be similar with your design. To make the copyright stronger and official, you must turn to the patent law. The patent could be granted by the Commonwealth Government.
Take for example in Australia, there two types of patent there. There are, first the standard patent which gets you the copyright for twenty years and the innovation patents which gets you eight years longer the standard patent. In this case the patent protection is not an automatic thing. You have to fill some application by very important person in Australia. You have to apply for the copyright law to the Commonwealth Government. It is pretty much similar to how to apply other patent for any other inventions and art works and literature.
How about patent the building concept?
Different from the law in Australia, in Europe architect can consider their building concept. In 2003 and 2004, some Swiss architects like Hans Zwimpfer have patented their building concept. Take for example, he patented the residential building concepts which have been building not only in Europe and in the US. Indeed, you have to apply to the government, especially if you have your own firm or own the industry. The patent for the building concept is a protection for the architectural intellectual property. Indeed, by patenting the building concept you will get the copyright for at least twenty years. It will be a great thing for you and your firm.
Check your country regulation
Besides you have to know that we can claim the patent of your intellectual properties like the building designs, you also absolutely have to check the regulation in your country. Basically it has almost similar regulation in European countries, United States of America, and Australia. However, in some countries it is really hard to get any patent for intellectual patent. In some countries, like in Swiss, it will be a lot easier for you to make the patent if you have a firm or industry under your name and policy. You also have to check how long the patent and the copyright your intellectual properties you have. Take for example it will be twenty years of copyright in Australia. It will help you to calculate how much you will get compare to the budget you spend on getting the copyright. You also have to check the potential of the building concepts. Therefore, in some countries it will be much easier for the architects with their own firm to get the Patent.