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Monday, August 1, 2016

What is a Patent?

The Indian law for patents is enshrined in the Patents Act, 1970 as amended by the Patent (Amendment) Rules, 2016. So what is a patent? A patent is an exclusive monopoly given by the Government to an inventor over his creation (innovation) for a limited period of time. Innovation can be understood as a brand new item or process, which is ingenious and has commercial applicability. The ownership of a patent confers on the patentee the exclusive right to use, make or sell his/her creation for the term of the grant. Patent is a form of intellectual property and such rights are enforceable in the court of law.

In the startup world, where technology rules the roost, IP protection is of paramount importance. This is why the Government is keen on developing India as a patent registration hub. The new amended rules are designed to bring about this change. How is a patent acquired? An inventor (individual/entity) or an agent assigned by the inventor can make an application in the designated form with a competent office, including the prescribed fees. A patent isn't granted to an invention if it's already available with the public in either the shape of published literature or common knowledge. To be patentable, an innovation should, generally, satisfy certain criteria. The innovation must be of industrial application, must be new and must show an innovative step that could not be deduced by an individual moderately skilled in the field. Innovations which can be frivolous or claim something contrary to more successful natural laws are not patentable.

What is a Patent Specification? The procedure for patenting usually includes conducting preliminary searches to make sure that no one else owns or has applied for the same or very similar patent. The next step is to develop an outline that exemplifies its functioning in the best possible way. This explanation is called specification. A provisional spec is usually the first request filed in respect of an innovation, and typically contains only a short description of the invention. However, this step is optional. The complete spec, on the other hand, contains a detailed description of the innovation, and the best method for operating it. The complete specification comprises the following information:
  • Field of the invention and its proposed use (Rule 13(7)(a))
  • Existing art that comes closest to the proposed innovation and improvements the new art will bring
  • Objects of the invention
  • Summary of the invention
  • Detailed description of the invention
  • Drawings (Rule 15)
  • Abstract for technical details (Rule 13(7))
  • Best Method (Section 10)
  • Claims (Section 10(4)(c))
Claims are the most crucial component in the patent spec as it's the legal surgical part which determines the protection sought for.

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