1. What is:
a) An Idea?
An idea could be a concept, a method, a scheme, a principle and the like.
An EXPRESSION of an idea is protected by Copyright and Trademark Law.
An idea leading to an INVENTION is protected by Patent law.
b) An Invention?
A unique and creative methodology of findings, leading to products and/or processes are inventions. This methodology could also be an improvement over existing products and/or processes. However, all inventions are not patentable.
c) A Patent?
A patent is an exclusive property right; otherwise known as an ‘intellectual property right’ granted by patent offices around the world to inventors. Patent rights are granted to new and original inventions relating to products and / or processes. Inventions must have the following criteria to be patentable:
(ii). Inventive Step
(iii). Industrial Application
2. Who is:
a) An Inventor?
An inventor is a person actively involved in and with an invention
b) An Applicant?
Applicants are the ones applying for patent protection of an invention in varying capacities.
Applicants may be sole inventors, joint inventors, organisations or legal entities where inventors are employed and contribute towards inventions.
c) A Patent Representative?
A patent representative is a registered agent or attorney licensed and authorised to practice, represent, act on behalf of applicants before the patent offices of respective countries. Patent representatives are also authorised to sign necessary documentation on behalf of applicants.
3. Checklist prior to Patenting an Invention:
- never disclose / share the invention to /with anybody without signing a non-disclosure agreement;
- take legal advise and opinion from patent agents or attorneys;
- conduct a thorough prior art search using several paid and unpaid international and regional patent databases to rule out setbacks and hurdles at the time of registration for patents since patenting is an expensive process;
- professional drafting of the patent invention to a large extent ensures smooth registrations with IP offices and will help in overcoming objections by establishing the inventors claims in a better way.
- Global protection of inventions by way of patent filings in as many countries as possible will help in better valuation and commercialisation.
- Applicants may select international filing of the application through WIPO under the PCT route or Regional Patent Conventions.
Kindly refer our guide on the various patent treaties and regional conventions to assist you with international filings.
4. Patent Grants:
Post filing of the patent applications, they must be pursued before the respective patent offices of the chosen countries as it is the prerogative of the patent offices to grant patents as per national legislations aided by international patent regimes.
Contribution of a person to the claim decides the share of the person in the invention. Therefore, if there is joint contribution towards claims in the invention then, patent rights will be shared jointly by the persons so contributing.
Mere execution of an invention shall not entitle the executor to a patent right as the executor is only following instructions provided and would not have contributed any ideas in forming a claim to the patent, hence not eligible for a share in the patent right.
A patent application shall therefore be drawn up based on either the sole inventor or joint inventors.
5. Check list prior to Patent Commercialisation:
- conducting a thorough market survey and research about competitors and rivals
- assessing risks involved concerning the commercial success of the invention
- arranging for funds to ensure the high costs in securing patents, marketing the invention and finally executing the invention, along with necessary maintenance and renewal fee to be paid timely to the patent offices failing which patent will be abandoned by the IP offices.
- strategise legal experts’ fees and incidental costs involved.
- have the best business plan drawn up so that the invention is successfully commercialised within the expiry of the life of the patent which is 20 yrs. from the date of the filing of the application.
Kindly note: inventors and inventions are an asset to economies as inventions contribute immensely to the betterment of societies and mankind. Therefore, governments support inventors by way of schemes and policies. Please contact your government to avail benefits from such schemes.