What is a Patent?
A patent is a right provided by Government to an inventor or to small or large organizations to reward the thought of innovation and exclude other people from creation, commercialization or selling for a particular amount of time as per the patent law.
In general, a patent application is mainly of following three types:
Utility patents are commonly filed patent applications to protect the rights of cutting-edge technologies, machines, or new compositions that are non-obvious. They are issued as patents to prevent others from copying them. Utility patent is one of the most common and beneficial types of patents, but the cost to obtain and the process involved can be daunting for those who are new to patents. The term period of utility patent is 20 years from its effective filing date.
The basic criteria to file a utility patent is to have four basic features: novelty, non-obviousness, industrial applicability, and utility.
Design patents protect the unique visual designs of products, ensuring that their ornamental features are not copied or imitated by others. It grants exclusive right to the aesthetic aspects of an item, encouraging innovation and creativity in product’s design. People usually get confused between utility patents and design patents, while utility patents focus mostly on functionality, design patents focus on appearance. Design patent can be obtained and hold for 15 years from its grant date.
For example: In 1842 the first design patent was filed for a Typography fort called as “Bruce’s Ornamental Design”.
Plant based IP protection is provided for a distinctive plant variety that has been discovered or invented and asexually reproduced. Plant patents are encouraged to breed new species of plants through any asexual method by providing legal protection. Plant patent will not be provided to plants that are grown from seeds. Few techniques include budding, tissue culture, etc. Plant patent is valid for 20 years from their date of filing.
Why do we need to file a patent?
Patents as detailed above, are a sanction provided by government to cutting edge technologies/ inventions, such that Inventors, Researchers, Small Scale Industries (SSI), Large Scale Industries (LSI) can prevent others from patenting their invention, A few interesting factors that people file patents are listed below:
Legal Protection & Exclusive rights:
Patents provide inventors with legal protection and exclusive rights for their inventions, ensuring their recognition and preventing unauthorized profit. Obtaining a patent for cutting-edge technology allows companies to invest more in R&D, knowing their intellectual property will be safeguarded and providing a competitive advantage. Patents facilitate collaboration, licensing, and expansion opportunities. Having patent protection allows inventors to expand globally by securing patents in multiple jurisdictions, preventing competition on an international scale. Additionally, patents offer an advantage in litigation, enabling inventors to initiate legal action against infringement.
Exclusive rights, provide market control, and enhance strategic partnerships and negotiation power for inventors. By holding exclusive rights to a patented invention, inventors can negotiate favourable terms, secure licensing deals, and generate revenue streams through royalties or upfront payments.
Market exclusivity allows sole right to produce and sell their invention for a specific period. This exclusivity provides a competitive edge by preventing others from offering the same product or technology, allowing inventors to capture a larger market share and maximize profits and offers sole right to produce and sell their invention for a specific period. With market exclusivity, inventors can establish brand recognition and customer loyalty. Being the only provider of a particular invention allows inventors to build a strong reputation and differentiate their offerings from competitors, creating a unique selling proposition that attracts customers and increases market demand.
One notable technology would be Pharmaceutical industry- an inventor invents a drug, and sells it, in the market in an exclusive manner provided the inventor has also filed a patent for the drug. Patent filing in this domain will eradicate duplicate drug on market for a certain period of time.
Patent can attract more potential buyers (selling the exclusive rights), partners and collaborators which leads to extensive market growth and increased revenue production. Usually there are couple of methods for commercializing the patent,
- Generating product, marketing & sales, with patent protection, inventor/applicant shall commercialize the product/process which leads to increase in sales
- License and royalty, Licensing is giving the inventor’s exclusive right to some partner or an organization under some agreement or commitment. Royalty refers to a form of financial compensation for the authorized access of services the licensor uses.
Selling of patented invention is also a beneficial revenue method.
Competitive advantage / Deterrence of competitors:
Having a patented product sets the company apart from competitors, enhancing brand differentiation and creating a unique selling proposition that attracts customers and gives the company a competitive advantage. Like mentioned above obtaining market exclusivity, will attract company’s attention, which leads to have deterrence of competitors and have strong foot on market and technology. Any small-medium tech companies, start-ups, innovations centers, which have more patents can sustain themselves for a long time.
To know more on Protecting Intellectual Property-India click here.
The growing adoption of AI-based applications across various industries, including intellectual property, has created a favourable environment for filing patents. There is immense potential for inventions that offer simplicity and accessibility. In India, the number of patent filings by Indian individuals has witnessed a significant increase in the last quarter, while global patent filings have also experienced robust growth. It is anticipated that the number of filings and grants will continue to rise in the near future.