All You Need To Know About Patents

What is a patent?

A patent is an exclusive territorial right granted for an invention, which is a product, process or technique that offers a new technical solution to an existing problem or provides a new way of doing something. Technical information concerning the innovation must be given to the public in a patent application in order to get a patent.

What type of security does a patent provide?

Theoretically, the patentee (patent owner) has the sole right to block or prohibit others from commercializing the protected innovation. In other words, patent protection prevents others from commercializing, using, distributing, importing, or selling the patented innovation without the permission of the patentee.

Is a patent recognized in all countries?

Patents are intellectual property rights that are limited to a certain geographical area. In general, exclusive rights are only valid in the nation or region where a patent has been filed and granted, and only in compliance with that country’s or region’s laws.

What is the duration of a patent?

The protection is only provided for a limited time, usually 20 years after the application’s filing date.

How to go about patent filing in India?

In today’s technology-driven culture, intellectual property has always played an increasingly important role. Patents are a valuable asset for any company. As a result, an organization’s inventive strength can be judged through its patenting operations. The corporation is increasingly demanding not just in terms of the number of patents, but also in terms of the quality of the inventions. A patent is granted after a lengthy process that includes many tests on the invention’s uniqueness, non-obviousness, and industrial applicability.

Step 1: Check if your invention is patentable.

You must first determine whether your idea is patentable before beginning the patent registration process. This implies you should look to see if someone else has filed a patent or published anything for similar technology to the one you’re working on. An in-depth patentability search can help you to determine whether you have a probability of obtaining a patent or not. While this stage is optional, it can help you save time and determine whether or not you should file a patent in the first place.

Step 2: Patent Search and Drafting

The inventor must do a patentability search after gaining clarity on the innovation. This is significant since it will aid in determining whether or not the invention is unique. The Patents Act requires that all inventions meet the novelty requirements. After completing a thorough search and compiling a patentability report, the patentability opinion can be considered. The patentability search helps to identify the closest feasible prior arts (publicly available) relevant to the invention, and based on the findings, an opinion on the patentability of that invention can be given, which can be positive, negative, or neutral. However, while filing the application directly is an option, conducting a patentability search is strongly suggested.

Step 3- Filing the Patent Application

This is when the real work begins. Following the writing of the patent application, it can be filed before the government patent office using Form 1 as the application for grant of patent. The patent application number is printed on the receipt of payment. If the innovation is still in its early stages, a provisional patent application can be filed under Form 2. The advantage of filing a provisional application is that it allows you to secure a first filing date, which is important in the industry. In addition, one has 12 months’ time period to submit the complete specification. For Individuals or Natural persons, Educational institutes, start-ups and MSME companies are entitled to have the government’s fees reduction scheme.

Step 4 – Publishing the patent application

The Indian Patent Office secures your patent application when you submit all of the required documents. After a period of about 18 months, the patent is published in an official patent journal. Applicant/s who want their patent application published early than the 18-month period might use early publication via Form 9 with additional fees. This is an automatic process, however, if an applicant submitted Form 9 (early publication request), the application will be published in the official patent journal within one month of the request. However, your patent application may not be published under certain circumstances such as incomplete applications, withdrawal requests filed by the person filing the patent, and confidentiality orders enforced under the Patent Act where the innovation is harmful to the nation’s interests are examples of these.

Step 5 – Examining the patent application

Unlike publication, the examination is not an automated procedure; the applicant must file the request before the Patent Office to examine your patent application. Under Form 18, the usual request must be filed within 48 months from the first date of the application’s filing. Upon receiving such a request, the controller assigns the application to a patent examiner, who reviews it using several patentability criteria, such as novelty, non-obviousness, or inventive step, industrial applicability, Non-patentability etc. and issues the First Examination Report (FER) in the name of the applicant. If one wants to accelerate the examination procedure, one can file the request for an expedited examination. Under Form 18A, the applicant can file the request for expedited examination of the application. Rule 24C-On any of the following grounds, an applicant may file a request for expedited examination in Form 18A along with the fee specified in the first schedule only by electronic transmission duly authenticated within the period prescribed in rule 24B:(a) that India has been indicated as the competent International Searching Authority or elected as an International Preliminary Examining Authority in the corresponding international application; or (b) that the applicant is a startup (c) that India has been indicated as the competent International Searching Authority or elected as an International Preliminary Examining Authority in the corresponding international application; or (d) that the applicant is a start-up; or (e) that the applicant is a small entity; or (f) that the applicant is a natural person or in the case of joint applicants, all the applicants are natural persons, then applicant or at least one of the applicants is a female; or (g) that the applicant is a department of the Government; or (h) that the applicant is an institution established by a Central, Provincial or State Act, which is owned or controlled by the Government; or (i) that the applicant is a Government company as defined in clause (45) of section 2 of the Companies Act, 2013 (18 of 2013); or (j) that the applicant is an institution wholly or substantially financed by the Government; or (k) that the application pertains to a sector which has been notified by the Central Government, on the basis of a request from the head of department of the Central Government; or (l) that the applicant is eligible under an arrangement for processing a patent application pursuant to an agreement between Indian Patent Office and a foreign Patent Office. 

Step 6 – Decision to grant patent

The patent is granted once the Controller finds no objections in the patent application. 

Step 7 – Renewing the Patent

The patentee must additionally pay an annual renewal fee to keep his patent active. In India, you can enjoy the life of your patent for a maximum of 20 years from the day it was filed. Applicants can file renewal every year or can also file in advance. 

Even though the patent application procedure is lengthy and complicated, it is critical in the long run. The complete procedure could take anything from 3 to 5 years or more. However, through the option of early publication and expedited examination, the whole process can be finished within 1 year also. The patent right can be enjoyed in multiple ways by patentees like by providing license (exclusive or non-exclusive) or selling the patent right or by using themselves for manufacturing the patented products. Considering, the future is about an intangible asset, one should look into the intellectual property in their business and must go for protecting it through registration of the same.

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