A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides, in general 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.
In principle, the patent owner has the exclusive right to prevent or stop others from commercially exploiting the patented invention. 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.
The protection is granted for a limited period, generally 20 years from the filing date of the application.
Kulkarni Associates has a strong IP practice helping its national and international clients in registering and enforcing their Patents rights.
A patent in an exclusive right granted by a country to the owner of an invention to make, use, manufacture and market the invention, provided the invention satisfies certain conditions stipulated in the law. Exclusivity of right implies that no one else can make, use, manufacture or market the invention without the consent of the patent holder. This right is available only for a limited period of time. However, the use or exploitation of a patent may be affected by other laws of the country which has awarded the patent.
These laws may relate to health, safety, food, security etc. Further, existing patents in similar area may also come in the way. A patent in the law is a property right and hence, can be gifted, inherited, assigned, sold or licensed. As the right is conferred by the State, it can be revoked by the State under very special circumstances even if the patent has been sold or licensed or manufactured or marketed in the meantime. The patent right is territorial in nature and inventors/their assignees will have to file separate patent applications in countries of their interest, along with necessary fees, for obtaining patents in those countries.
A patentee must disclose the invention in a patent document for anyone to practice it after the expiry of the patent or practice it with the consent of the patent holder during the life of the patent.
An invention must satisfy the following three conditions of :
(i) Novelty   (ii) Inventiveness (Non-obviousness)   (iii) Usefulness
Novelty : An invention will be considered novel if it does not form a part of the global state of the art. Information appearing in magazines, technical journals, books, newspapers etc. constitute the state of the art. Oral description of the invention in a seminar/conference can also spoil novelty. Novelty is assessed in a global context. An invention will cease to be novel if it has been disclosed in the public through any type of publications anywhere in the world before filing a patent application in respect of the invention. Prior use of the invention in the country of interest before the filing date can also destroy the novelty. Novelty is determined through extensive literature and patent searches. It should be realized that patent search is essential and critical for ascertaining novelty as most of the information reported in patent documents does not get published any where else.
Inventiveness (Non-obviousness) : A patent application involves an inventive step if the proposed invention is not obvious to a person skilled in the art i.e., skilled in the subject matter of the patent application. The prior art should not point towards the invention implying that the practitioner of the subject matter could not have thought about the invention prior to filing of the patent application. Inventiveness cannot be decided on the material contained in unpublished patents. The complexity or the simplicity of an inventive step does not have any bearing on the grant of a patent. In other words a very simple invention can qualify for a patent. If there is an inventive step between the proposed patent and the prior art at that point of time, then an invention has taken place. A mere 'scintilla' of invention is sufficient to found a valid patent.
Usefulness: An invention must possess utility for the grant of patent No valid patent can be granted for an invention devoid of utility.
An invention may satisfy the condition of novelty, inventiveness and usefulness but it may not qualify for a patent under the following situations:
No, publication of an invention in any form by the inventor before filing of a patent application would disqualify the invention to be patentable. Hence, inventors should not disclose their inventions before filing the patent application. The invention should be considered for publication after a patent application has been filed. Thus, it can be seen that t11ere is no contradiction between publishing an inventive work and filing of patent application in respect of the invention.
Term of the patent is 20 years from the date of filling for all types of inventions
There are two types of patent documents usually known as patent specification, namely:
A provisional specification is usually filed to establish priority of the invention in case the disclosed invention is only at a conceptual stage and a delay is expected in submitting full and specific description of the invention. Although, a patent application accompanied with provisional specification does not confer any legal patent rights to the applicants, it is, however, a very important document to establish the earliest ownership of an invention. The provisional specification is a permanent and independent scientific cum legal document and no amendment is allowed in this. No patent is granted on the basis of a provisional specification. It has to be a followed by a complete specification for obtaining a patent for the said invention. Complete specification must be submitted within 12 months of filing the provisional specification. This period can be extended by 3 months. It is not necessary to file an application with provisional specification before the complete specification. An application with complete specification can be filed right at the first instance.
Submission of complete specification is necessary to obtain a patent The contents of a complete specification would include the following
After the Patent Office has examined an application and found it in order forgrant of a patent, it publishes the title pf the invention, name of the inventor(s) and the applicant(s), abstract of the invention, drawings and claims in the Gazette of India, Part III Section 2, for interested parties to oppose the grant of the patent. An application for opposition may be filed at the concerned Patent Office branch within four months of the date of the issue of the concerned gazette. An extension of one month is possible; a request for extension has to be made within the first four months. Typed or photocopies of the specification together with photocopies of the drawings, if any, can be obtained from the Patent Office, Calcutta or the concerned branch office on payment of the prescribed fees. One would like to oppose if the idea of the accepted application infringes upon one's invention/existing patent, if the coverage of the proposed patent is very wide which may be detrimental to one's research or if the idea is not novel and so on.
No. There is nothing like a global patent or a world patent. Patent rights are essentially territorial in nature and are protected only in a country (or countries) which,has (have) granted these rights. In other words,-for obtaining patent rights in different countries one has to submit patent applications in all the countries of interest for grant of patents. This would entail payment of official fees and associated expenses, like the attorney fees, essential for obtaining patent rights in each country. However, there are some regional systems where by filing one application one could simultaneously obtain patents in the member countries of a regional system; European Patent Office is an example of a similar system.
Each country is free to grant or refuse a patent on the bases of scrutiny by its patent office. This means that granting a patent in one country of the Union does not force other countries to grant the patent for the same invention. Also, the refusal of the patent in one country does not mean that it will be terminated in all the countries.
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.
All activities related to PCT are coordinated by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) situated in Geneva.
In order to protect your invention in other countries, you are required to file an independent patent application in each country of interest; in some cases , within a stipulated time to obtain priority in these countries .This would entail a large investment, within a short time, to meet costs towards filing fees, translation, attorney charges etc. In addition you are making an assumption which, due to the short time available for making the decision on whether to file a patent application in a country or not , may not be well founded .
Inventors of Contracting States of PCT on the other hand can simultaneously obtain priority for their inventions without having to file separate application in the countries of interest ; thus saving the initial investments towards filing fees, translation etc. In addition the system provides much longer time for filing patent application in member countries . The time available under Paris Convention for securing priority in other countries is 12 months from the date of initial filing. Under the PCT, the time available could be as much as minimum 20 and maximum 31 months. Further, an inventor is also benefited by the search report prepared under the PCT system to be sure that the claimed invention is novel. The inventor could also opt for preliminary examination before filing in other countries to be doubly sure about the patentability of the invention .
The patent office or nay other office designated by each contracting state becomes a receiving office for receiving patent applications These applications are referred to International Searching Authorities (ISA) which usually the patent offices, appointed to carry out the patent search on a global basis. In case the receiving office is also an ISA, a separate referral is not required . There is also a provision to get a patent application examined by international preliminary Examining Authorities which, in most cases are ISA.