FAQ’s on Patent

What is Patent?

Patent enables its owners to exclude from making, using and selling its inventions.

Term of Patent

The term of patent is for twenty years (20), provided the maintenance fee is paid at the end of every year.

Territorial Scope

Patent laws are territorial, a separate patent must be obtained in each country. Indian patent office protects invention only filed in India.

What is patentable?

Only inventions are patentable. An invention must be new, useful and must involve inventive steps compared to closest prior art. A new and unobvious product, process, apparatus or composition of matter will generally be patentable.

Patentability searches

Patentability search is a search for invention in hope of not finding the invention. The patentability search is an universal concept since inventions cannot be boundary constraint. But it is to be noted that the patent laws are territorial. Computer databases search is quick and relatively inexpensively. Database searches are most useful in searching sophisticated inventions, which can be described by precise, well-known terms of art. They are much less useful in searching mechanical gadget type inventions. No search will "guarantee" the patentability of any invention. The object is to make a reasonable assessment of the prospects for obtaining worthwhile patent protection. Search results are also useful in preparing a patent application.

Information required for conducting search

To conduct a search the description, drawings or photographs of the invention, showing how it is made, operated and used would be helpful. Further details of any known prior art; a summary of the prior art's shortcomings; an explanation of how these are overcome by the invention; a list of any other advantages of the invention; and, details of any possible variants or modifications that could be made without departing from the general concept of the invention.

Who can apply for a patent?

An application for obtaining a patent can be made by a true and first inventor who holds the rightful ownership in the invention due to fact that he invented the same or by any person who is an assignee/legal representative of the first and true inventor. Also a legal heir of the first and true inventor can apply for patent in case of the death of the true and first inventor.

What is not patentable invention?
1. an invention which is frivolous or which claims anything obviously contrary to whole established natural laws.
2. an invention the primary or intended use or commercial exploitation of which could be contrary to public.
3. the mere discovery of a scientific principle or the formulation of an abstract theory.
4. the mere discovery of any new property or new use for known substance or of the mere use of known process, machine or apparatus unless such known process result in a new product or employ one new reactant.
5. a substance obtained from mere admixture resulting into aggregation of properties.
6. mere arrangement or re-arrangement or duplication of known devices each functioning independently.
7. a method of agriculture or horticulture.
8. any process for the medicinal, surgical, curative, prophylactic or other treatment of human beings or animals.
9. plants and animals in whole or any part in whole or any part thereof other than micro organism but including seeds, varieties and species and essentially biological processes for production or propagation of plants and animals
10. computer programme per se other than its technical application to industry or combination with hardware
11. mathematical method or business method or algorithms
12. Literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work or any other aesthetic creation whatsoever including cinematographic works and television productions.
13. a mere scheme or rule or method of performing mental act or method of playing game.
14. a presentation of information
15. topography of integrated circuits
16. an invention which, in effect is traditional knowledge or which is an aggregation or duplication of known properties of traditionally known component or components.
17. invention relating to atomic energy
What are the documents required for filling a patent application?
1. Application Form (form 1),
2. Specification (Provisional/Complete) [Form 2],
3. Drawings (if any),
4. Undertaking under section 8 (form 3), and
5. Power of Authority (if the patent application is filed through a patent attorney)
What is patent specification?
A patent specification discloses the details of the invention for which the patent protection is sought. The legal rights in a patent are based on the disclosures made in the specification. Specifications are of two kinds:
• Provisional: A provisional specification discloses incomplete invention or inventions requiring time to develop further. The provisional specification is filed to claim the priority date of an invention.
• Complete: The document, containing the detailed description of invention along with the drawings and claims is called as the complete specification. Also the description regarding prior art is included in the complete specification
What is the date of priority?

The date of priority is the date on which the patent application either with provisional specification or with complete specification is filed at the patent office.

What happens to the application after filing?

Initially, a patent examiner examines the patent applications and then communicates the objections, if any, to the applicant via first examination report. The applicant has to meet up with the compliance of the patent office within specific time frame, if the applicant fails in doing so the application shall be abandoned. Otherwise the application is published in the patent gazettes issued by the patent office. The said published application is open public perusal and opposition. If there is no opposition the patent shall be granted.

What is Prior Inform Consent (PIC)?

Prior Informed Consent is a consent sought from the innovator and/or inventor and/or knowledge holder to develop, protect, explore, commercialized ones innovation. PIC document may be of different types each defining the scope of rights imparted to exploit the innovation.

What is a PCT?

PCT abbreviated, from the Patent Cooperation Treaty. PCT is an International treaty, which provides facility to the applicant to file a single patent application and designate the countries in which he/she wants to protect his IP rights. Thus a single patent application is filed for the purpose of an international search report and to claim the priority date in all the designated countries. After receiving the international examination report, the applicant has to file a request in each designated country to take on record his/her application and this is called national phase of a patent application. A PCT application also provides an international filing date through a single patent application. India is a member country to PCT.