When you invent something new, it is your property. However, you have to have a grant of that property right issued on your name by the government. The government will evaluate and examine your invention and then they will provide you with a patent of that invention.
A patent is a type of intellectual property which is of great significance in the present age of technological progression. With the post-industrial age flourishing, the number of inventions in almost all fields has multiplied to an incredible extent. When there are inventions, there’s always a need for patents. A patent is an exclusive right over the invention or a formula which is completely novel, useful and non-obvious. The functional features of the invention can also be patentable. That means that a patent can be achieved in respect of a product as well as a process.
Simply put, when a person invents something and they think that their invention is completely new to the world from its functionality to its application, there’s nothing already existing which is similar or identical to it and they want to stop others from copying, selling, distributing or even using it then they will apply for a patent. If they successfully get a patent in respect of their invention then they will be legally empowered to stop others and initiate a legal action against the infringers of their exclusive right over their property.
Registration of a Patent
Like any physical property, the patent also needs to be registered in the national patent office. It takes a whole process of registration in order for a patent to be claimable. The process includes the following steps:
- Patent drafting
- Removing objections
- Patent examination
- Patent filing
Once, all the formalities are fulfilled, the owner gets the patent in respect of their property and they are hereafter referred to as the patentee or the patent-holder.
Duration of the Right of Patent
A person can claim their patent for a period of 20 years after which they will lose their sole right over the patented property and it will be open to others for purposes of copying, selling, using and distributing.
Condition for Patent
For a thing that one wants to be patented, they must disclose it to people. So that others can make use of the invention without deriving commercial benefits from it.
Things which cannot be patented
- Any scientific theory, discovery or math procedure.
- Any dramatic, literary, artistic, musical or aesthetic work.
- Any manner of performing an act, playing a game or performing business activities.
- Any manner in which information is presented
- Any objects that are existent in nature.
All the aforementioned things, despite being completely new to the world cannot be patented because a patent in respect of these will be anti-welfare or against the public good.
All the companies aim at receiving a patent in the very initial stages of developing a product because there’s always a fear of information leakage. Patents secure from the exploitation of ideas of somebody else. However, a formula or an invention is patentable only if it is NEW and doesn’t fall under the category of non-patentable objects. All these preconditions are provided in the TRIPS Agreement which is the international agreement between all the states that are the members of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Facts about Patents:
- As Apple owns the “Slide-to-Unlock” patent of the smartphones, Motorola in a case argued that ‘a tap is a zero-length swap’; so, the patent has no value.
- Thomas Edison used to own almost all the patent in the movie-making process; so, the directors wanted to get rid of him and build Hollywood on the West coast far from his reach.
- The patent of the fire hydrant perished in a fire; now, no one knows who invented it.
- In 1955, Jonas Salk did not want a patent for his invention of the polio vaccine for the sake of humanity. If he would have chosen to patent it, he would have become a billionaire.
- Petroleum companies own most of the battery patents and they can sue anyone who uses them.
- The inventors of insulin decided not to patent their invention so that the people of the world can get an inexpensive treatment of diabetes.