Patent : An Introduction
What is patent?
Patent is an exclusive right granted by the government to innovators for a limited period of time against the full disclosure of the invention. The main objective of the patent law is to encourage scientific and technological development, promote knowledge sharing by providing opportunities to recover the investment and earn profit through commercial exploitation of the inventions. Such knowledge sharing contributes to an overall scientific and technological development by enabling others to use the patented invention for public welfare after the expiry of patent term and to carry out further research on it. The ultimate objective of the patent law is to achieve higher standard of living. In India, patents are governed by The Patents Act, 1970 (As modified and amended) & The Patent Rules, 2003 (As modified and amended).
What is patentable?
A subject matter satisfying below mentioned three (3) criteria can be granted a patent:
- Industrial application
Who can apply for patents in India?
An application for patent can be made by any one of below given person separately or jointly:
- True and first inventor
- Assignee of the true and first inventors
- Legal representative
What are the type of patent applications?
- Ordinary patent application
- Convention patent application
- PCT national phase patent application
- Patent of addition
- Divisional patent application
Note: This blog includes details about ordinary patent application. Details pertaining to other types of application are provided separately.
Ordinary Application: An application for patent filed which doesn’t claim priority from any earlier filed application is called an ordinary patent application. An ordinary patent application can be filed with provisional specification or complete specification.
Provisional Specification: When an invention has been conceptualized; however, not fully developed. In other words, the inventors need to carry out some experimentations to complete the invention or to provide proof of concept (POC); a provisional specification is filed along with patent application to claim a priority date. A provisional specification discloses the invention for which the patent is sought; however, doesn’t necessarily include claims. A provisional patent specification must be accompanied by a complete specification within twelve (12) months from the date of filing the provisional specification. No patent is granted based on a provisional patent application alone.
Complete specification: A complete specification is filed when the invention has been conceptualized as well as fully developed. A complete specification discloses the invention with proof of concept (POC) in such a manner that a person skilled in the art can reproduce it by going through the disclosure. A complete specification necessarily includes one or more claims relating to the invention for which protection is sought.
Contents of specification: The specification shall consist of:
- Title of Invention
- Field of Invention
- Background of Invention
- Summary of Invention
- Objective of Invention
- Brief description of drawing (if required)
- Detailed description of invention
- Claims- the statement covering the invention for which protection is sought
Role of Patent Agents/Attorneys: The primary role of Patent Agents/Attorneys is to assist their clients in securing their inventions by providing opinion on patentability, drafting patent specifications, filing patent applications, prosecuting patent applications and enforcing the patent rights through courts. A strategic patenting must involve a Patent Agent/Attorney from the beginning to ascertain patentability in advance (even before the research expenses are incurred), file a well-drafted patent specification; which ultimately result into grant of comprehensive patent rights in shorter duration with minimized research cost.