Intellectual Property refers to creations of mind. The ideas, thoughts, solution to problems etc. that arise in one’s mind cannot be protected. But their representation in specific forms can seek rights for legal protection. Such forms which are the products of mind are known as Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).
The different types of IPR are
Intellectual Property Rights are statutory rights, once granted allows the creator(s) or owner(s) of the Intellectual Property to exclude others from exploiting the same commercially for a given period of time. It allows the creator(s)/owner(s) to have the benefits from their work when these are exploited commercially. Intellectual Property Rights are granted to an inventor or creator, designer in lieu of the discloser of his/her knowledge.
A Patent is the grant of exclusive right, for a limited period, provided by the Government to the patentee, in exchange of full disclosure of his or her invention, for excluding others, from making, using, selling, importing the patented product or process producing that product for those purposes. In other words, a patent is a contract between the inventor or applicant for the patent and the government, whereby the inventor or applicant gets a monopoly from the government for a certain period in return for disclosing full details of the invention.
The purpose of this system is to encourage inventions by promoting their protection and utilization so as to contribute to the development of industries, which in turn, contributes to the promotion of technological innovation and to the transfer and dissemination of technology. The patent system ensures that information on new inventions is made available for eventual public use so as to encourage technical and economic development and discourage secrecy. Besides, royalty can be gained through licensing of patents to various firms and commercial bodies. It also provides inspiration to other innovators for new creations.
Patent right is territorial in nature and a patent obtained in one country is not enforceable in other country. The inventors/their assignees are required to file separate patent applications in different countries for obtaining the patent in those countries. Once the patent is granted, the inventor or applicant has the sole right to make, use or sell the invention for a limited period. This period is usually 20 years after which the owner no longer holds any right to his or her patented work as it then becomes a free technology in public domain.
To qualify for being a patentable invention, the following are to be satisfied by that invention
Novelty: It refers to the newness associated with the invention. The invention must be a new one and not being published anywhere in the past. There must not be any prior public knowledge about it.
Inventiveness: The invention must have come through some definite inventive steps. It also must not be obvious to a person skilled in the art associated with it. It should offer a definite technical advantage and proper economic significance.
Industrial applicability: The invention must be capable of being made or used in an industry.
Some inventions in spite of being new, non-obvious and useful cannot be patented. An invention which is :
No patent shall be granted in respect of an invention relating to atomic energy falling within subsection (1) of section 20 of the Atomic Energy Act, 1962 (33 of 1962).