What is a Patent?
A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention. In other words, a patent is an exclusive right to a product or a process that generally provides a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem. To get a patent, technical information about the invention must be disclosed to the public in a patent application.
The patent owner may give permission to, or license, other parties to use the invention on mutually agreed terms. The owner may also sell the right to the invention to someone else, who will then become the new owner of the patent. Once a patent expires, the protection ends, and an invention enters the public domain; that is, anyone can commercially exploit the invention without infringing the patent.
What right does a Patent provide?
A patent owner has the right to decide who may – or may not – use the patented invention for the period in which the invention is protected. In other words, patent protection means that the invention cannot be commercially made, used, distributed, imported, or sold by others without the patent owner’s consent.
What kind of inventions can be protected?
Patents may be granted for inventions in any field of technology, from an everyday kitchen utensil to a nanotechnology chip. An invention can be a product – such as a chemical compound, or a process, for example – or a process for producing a specific chemical compound. Many products in fact contain a number of inventions. For example, a laptop computer can involve hundreds of inventions, working together.
How is invention defined in the Indian Patent Act to qualify for grant of a patent?
An invention is defined as a new product or process not obvious to the person skilled in the art and one that can be made or used in an industry. Inventions to be used as food or medicine or such substances produced through chemical processes are not patentable.
How do I manage to keep a patent in force throughout its term?
To maintain a patent one needs to pay the maintenance fee every year. If the fee is not paid, the patent will no longer remain in force and anyone can then make use of it without there being any chances of infringement.
Is it possible to have a patent granted in one country implemented in other countries as well?
A patent is territorial and cannot be globalized. To obtain patent rights in any other country, one has to apply for it there by paying the required official fee along with other expenses involved.
What is meant by patent cooperation treaty (PCT)?
The patent cooperation treaty (PCT) is a multilateral treaty entered into force in 1978. Through PCT, an inventor of a member country (Contracting state of PCT can simultaneously obtain priority for his/her Invention in all/ any of the member countries, without having to file a separate application in the countries of interest , by designating them in the PCT application . India joined the PCT on December 7, 1998.
What is Patent specification?
A patent specification specifies the details of the invention for which the patent protection is sought. The legal rights in a patent are based on these details. Specifications are of two kinds-
- Provisional Specification: A provisional specification is one that discloses incomplete or under-developed invention or inventions requiring time to develop further.
- Complete Specification: A complete specification is the detailed description of invention including the drawings and claims.
How does Patent protection last?
Patent protection is granted for a limited period, generally 20 years from the filing date of the application.
Is a Patent valid in every country?
Patents are territorial rights. In general, the exclusive rights are only applicable in the country or region in which a patent has been filed and granted, in accordance with the law of that country or region.
How are patent rights enforced?
Patent rights are usually enforced in a court on the initiative of the right owner. In most systems a court of law has the authority to stop patent infringement. However the main responsibility for monitoring, identifying, and taking action against infringers of a patent lies with the patent owner.
What does it mean to “License a Patent” and why is it done?
Licensing a patent simply means that the patent owner grants permission to another individual/organization to make, use, sell etc. his/her patented invention. This takes place according to agreed terms and conditions (for example, defining the amount and type of payment to be made by the licensee to the licensor), for a defined purpose, in a defined territory, and for an agreed period of time.
A patent owner may grant a license to a third party for many reasons. The patent owner may not have the necessary manufacturing facilities, for example, and therefore opts to allow others to make and sell his/her patented invention in return for “royalty” payments. Alternatively, a patent owner may have manufacturing facilities, but they may not be large enough to cover market demand. In this case, he/she may be interested in licensing the patent to another manufacturer in order to benefit from another income stream. Another possible situation is one in which the patent owner wishes to concentrate on one geographic market; therefore the patent owner may choose to grant a license to another individual/organization, with interests in other geographical markets. Entering into a licensing agreement can help to build a mutually-beneficial business relationship.
Unlike selling or transferring a patent to another party, the licensor continue to have property rights over the patented invention.
What are “Patent useful (to society, business, individuals etc.?
Patented inventions have, in fact, pervaded every aspect of human life, from electric lighting (patents held by Edison and Swan) and plastic (patents held by Baekeland), to ballpoint pens (patents held by Biro), and microprocessors (patents held by Intel, for example).
Patents provide incentives to and protection for individuals by offering them recognition for their creativity and the possibility of material reward for their inventions. At the same time, the obligatory publication of patents and patent applications facilitates the mutually-beneficial spread of new knowledge and accelerates innovation activities by, for example, avoiding the necessity to “re-invent the wheel”.
Once knowledge is publicly available, by its nature, it can be used simultaneously by an unlimited number of persons. While this is, without doubt, perfectly acceptable for public information, it causes a dilemma for the commercialization of technical knowledge. In the absence of protection of such knowledge, “free-riders” could easily use technical knowledge embedded in inventions without any recognition of the creativity of the inventor or contribution to the investments made by the inventor. As a consequence, inventors would naturally be discouraged to bring new inventions to the market, and tend to keep their commercially valuable inventions secret. A patent system intends to correct such under-provision of innovative activities by providing innovators with limited exclusive rights, thereby giving the innovators the possibility to receive appropriate returns on their innovative activities.
In a wider sense, the public disclosure of the technical knowledge in the patent, and the exclusive right granted by the patent, provide incentives for competitors to search for alternative solutions and to “invent around” the first invention. These incentives and the dissemination of knowledge about new inventions encourage further innovation, which assures that the quality of human life and the well-being of society is continuously enhanced.