Patents, or a copyright or ip trademark, are a way to protect one’s invention and ensure that somebody else does not take credit for one’s hard work. Thus all inventions made big or small, need to be patented. However, not all patent applications are sanctioned by the concerned authorities. While the government has set up specific guidelines for the application of patents via the Indian Patent Act, it has also defined clauses for its rejection.
For an invention to be patented, it has to be:
- A novel concept: Any new process or product that is innovative, novel and is capable of finding industrial applicability is defined as a patent. A new invention is defined as one that has not been published in any document or even used anywhere else, either in India or across the world.
- Inventive step: Any technical advancement that has been developed over a pre-existing knowledge base or is significantly economic or both and it is not obvious to any person skilled in the particular art is said to be an inventive step.
- Industrial application: The third and last criterion states that the invention has to have an industrial applicability.
In instances of confusion or doubt, the IPO or the Indian Patent Office calls for a clarification by setting a hearing date. If the applicant is unable to reasonably justify or clear the objections raised by the IPO, the patent application gets rejected immediately.
Types of patents granted in India
Generally speaking, all inventions for which patent applications are filed, fall under 4 different categories. Thus there are 4 different types of patents followed globally like:
- Utility patent: This is a long document which extensively talks about the technical processes involved in the usage of a new system, process or machine developed. Some examples which require the filing of this patent application are genetic engineering, proprietary software developed etc.
- Provisional patent: This involves filing of a less formal application for:
- Proving that the inventor actually possess such an invention and
- Is extensively aware of how to make it work.
But the inventor is mandatorily required to file a utility patent application form within a year of filing the provisional patent application.
- Design patent: All invented ornamental designs on useful items need to be patented. The application filed is generally full of designs, pictures and drawings and are thus difficult to search for. Today software companies use Design patents to:
- Protect user interface elements and
- Touch screen design shapes.
- Plant patent: Plants that are produced using non-sexual means like cutting etc. can also be protected by a patent law. This patent type focuses more on conventional horticultural inventions and is not applicable to genetically modified organisms.
In India the different types of patents for which applications can be raised are slightly different. The types of patents for which applications can be raised here are:
- Non-provisional or ordinary patent applications,
- Convention applications,
- PCT National phase applications and PCT international applications,
- Divisional application and
- Patent of addition.
Granting of patents or ip trademark is a work of great responsibility. Once the same is granted to an invention or innovation, the inventor becomes its proprietor. Thus patent applications need to be thoroughly researched for before patents are granted.