Patent Basics : Every inventor should know!


Patent Basics – Patent and its rights – Rights associated to an invention that results in something unique and useful, or which provides a non-obvious solution to any existing problem, is referred as a Patent. For attaining or holding a patent for any new invention, all the background and technical details that depict the products functionality or design must be presented or published in the patent application and in front of the public, depending upon the territory and the nature of the product. It is important to announce about every such invention to the people to make them aware and no one else could possibly claim him/herself as the inventor for the same knowledge in future.

Any sort of inventions in any field of technology from the biggest to the smallest nanotechnology chip are eligible to be taken up for patent. It is also possible that a product may be combination of more than one invention. For example, a mobile phone may involve more than one invention working together.

Read Also: Procedure for Patent Application Filing

After patenting, the owner holds the following rights for the period in which the invention is protected:

  • Can share the invention details with other parties and allow them to use the invention on mutually agreed terms.
  • Can sell the right to the invention or assign the ownership of his assets to someone else who will be the patent’s new owner.
  • Can legally claim for his/her patented product if someone else is using the whole or some part of it, without his/her knowledge.
  • Cannot claim any authority after the patent expires and its protection ends, and then his/her invention will be in the public domain, which could be exploited commercially without any infringement.

Patent Protection and Validity

Protection for some patent is authorized for a certain time period, which varies depending on the category or the product type on which patent is taken. The period is of 20 years from the application filing date. They are the rights which are confined according to the territorial boundaries. This means that these are valid exclusively in a particular country or boundary where the patent has been filed and its permission is granted, in accordance with the laws of the governing authority of that area.

Patent rights are generally obligatory within a court on the inventiveness of the right owner. Law courts can also look into patent infringement details. But the main authority for its monitoring, managing, identifying, and taking actions, if any infringement is located, is with the patent owner only.

Patent Licensing

Licensing is a method of granting permission to any another party or individual or organization to use, take advantage, sell the owner’s patented products on the basis of mutual settlement of the agreed terms and conditions, such as amount of payment to be made by the person using the patented product to the licensor, for a clear and well stated purpose, within the confined territory, and for limited time period.

It is even found that licensing agreement can also help in building a mutually-constructive and beneficial business relationship.  This can be easily understood by this simple example. Suppose a patent owner permits the license to any third party to due to any possible reason, such as lack of resources, interests in other geographical markets, or manufacturing facilities, thus allowing others to use or sell that patented products in the market under a new name, which in return will benefit the first holder with royalty payments. And that second person/party grants the rights to some other party due to lack of any resource or interest to continue with that product, again getting benefits from royalty payments. The main benefit lies in the fact that once the patented product is licensed, the licensor will continue to hold property rights over his/her invention, even if the permission of its usage is granted to different parties. This sort of chain between people of different interests and different markets consecutively establishes a mutual business relationship.

Patent Usage

Patents provide incentives to and protection for individuals by offering them recognition for their creativity and the possibility of material reward for their inventions. The patent and its applications allow the spread of invention details, educates a number of people, and accelerates innovation activities on a mutually-beneficial aspect.

This widespread distribution of knowledge is publicly educating a number of people and can be used to erode ideas to future inventors. This is no doubt a good step for spreading knowledge on a public platform, but it creates dilemma for its commercialization. But if this technical knowledge is not protected properly, then any user could use it for their inventions without giving any appreciation to the creator or without contributing to the inventor’s investments. This would naturally discourage the creator to perform more experiments and bring new inventions in the public domain. It may be a chance that some significant inventions will be kept hidden from the market. Patenting regulates the flow of knowledge in the market by providing limited exclusive rights to the owners, thereby giving them more chance to come up with more innovation.

Hence, the public disclosure of inventions in the form of patent, and special rights granted through patent, provides incentives for competitors to look around and invent something new. These incentives and exclusive rights about new inventions encourage further innovation, which convinces that the quality of human life and the well-being of society are endlessly enhanced.