Patent Fundamentals: Know Them All!


A patent is an exclusive set of rights granted to an inventor by the national government authority or regional patent office for a new invention or product. And therefore, learning about patent fundamentals is a prime aspect. The invention has to fulfill all criterions of obtaining a patent apart from being novel and non-obvious. The main objective of a patent is to prohibit others from using, manufacturing and selling an invention or product without the patentee’s consent. A patent is granted for a particular period of time, generally 20 years and this term can be extended by payment of the patent renewal fees. As a part of the patent application process, the inventor has to disclose all the details, the methods and processes regarding his invention or product.

The prohibition of third parties or foreign entities from making use of a product or invention unlawfully also makes way for a steady return on the investment in research and development that led to the creation of that new technology. A patent also allows further research and development apart from innovation in the concerned sector.

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The Basics of a Patent

The most important thing to remember is that patents do not protect ‘idea’. They protect invention or a product. Idea is intangible, thus in order to make the patent successful a tangible description (for example drawings, prototypes) is required. The product can be completely new, a developed version of a pre-existing product or an entirely new process.

An invention must fulfill all criteria of patentability. These criterions may vary from different regions of the world but the basic steps of technology requirement are same for all.

  • Novel– The invention has to be completely new. If there is mention of your invention anywhere (through any patent, any research journal or in any written format) then the invention is no longer new or novel in its field.
  • Non-obvious– The invention must be completely new to the person who has expertise on related subject matter of the invention or fields. This means that the invention must be non-obvious.
  • Industrial Applicability– The invention must have a practical application that is it should have the potential of being used for industrial purposes.

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The patent rights are territorial bound. The rights conferred upon a patentee vary according to countries and the law governing them. There is nothing called ‘world patent’.  Hence an inventor cannot file for a patent application that will be valid globally. However, he can file a National Phase Application and consequently extend the rights into other territories by suitable overcoming the deadlines and criteria.

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The aim of a patent is to protect the invention by preventing others from using it unlawfully. It is thus the job of the patentee to be careful enough and regularly monitor if any third party or entity is wrongfully using the invention. The inventor in that scenario can file a patent infringement against the violator and take necessary legal actions.

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Just like any other property, patent is a type of intellectual property. It can be sold, licensed, mortgaged, bought, transferred or simply abandoned.