FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT PATENTS
Q1 - What is a Patent?
A Patent is an exclusive monopoly granted by the Government to an
inventor over his invention for limited period of time.
Q2 - Who
can obtain a Patent?
An inventor or any other person/company assigned by the inventor can
obtain the patent over his invention.
Q3 - How
a patent is obtained/filed?
A patent is obtained by the inventor or his assignee by filing an
application with the patent office in the stipulated forms as
required by the Patent act of that country.
Q4 - Why
one should go for a patent?
To enjoy the exclusive rights over the invention. If the inventor
does not get the patent rights over his invention and introduce his
product/process based on his invention in the market, any body can
copy his invention and exploit it commercially. To debar others from
using, selling or working out his invention, the inventor must go
for getting a patent.
Q5 - Why
does the Government encourage filing of patents?
To encourage innovation and investment in research and development
activities so that there is economic, industrial and technological
development in the country.
Q6 - How
does a patent document help in R&D?
Study of a Patent document may stop re-inventing the wheel. A
Scientist, who has not consulted the patent literature, may start
working on a problem for which the solution might have already been
found by someone else and it is available in the patent literature.
Which invention qualifies for the grant of a patent?
A patent is granted only on that invention, which is new,
non-obvious and has industrial applicability.
Upto what extent the inventor has to disclose his invention to get a
An inventor has to disclose his invention in such a manner that any
person other than the inventor, skilled in the art, should be able
to work out the invention.
Q9 - How
does a patent get expire?
A patent can expire in the following ways:
(a) The patent has lived its full term i.e. the term specified by
the patent act of the country. Generally it is 20 years from the
date of filing.
(b) The patentee has failed to pay the renewal fee. A patent once
granted by the Government has to be maintained by paying annual
(c) The validity of the patent has been successfully challenged by
an opponent by filing an opposition either with the patent office or
with the courts.
What is the different between a US patent and an Indian Patent?
A US patent is granted by the United State Patent Office to an
inventor, who has filed his application with it, whereas an Indian
Patent is granted by the Indian Patent Office to an inventor, who
has filed his application with Indian Patent office.
A patent granted by a patent office is applicable within the
geographical boundaries of that country only.
A US Patent is applicable within USA only and has no effect in
India, if the same inventor of the US patent has not filed his
application in India for the patent grant.
Q11 - Is
there an International/Global patent?
No. There is no International or Global Patent. An inventor has to
file an application in each country, where he seeks to protect his
invention. There are regional and/or International treaties to
facilitate the procedure to seek protection like Patent co-operation
Treaty (PCT) or European Patent Convention (EPC).
Who checks the novelty features of the invention?
A patent examiner checks the novelty features of the patent
application with the state of the art available.
Can a scientist get a patent on the invention, which he has already
published in the form a paper in a national/International journal?
No. A patent is not granted to an invention if it is already
available with the public either in the form of published literature
of common knowledge.
Who is responsible to ensure that the patent has not been infringed?
It is the sole duty/responsibility of the patentee to see that his
patent is not being infringed upon by someone else. It is the
patentee's duty to file a suit of infringement against the
Does a Patentee get money once a patent has been granted to him?
No. A patentee does not get any kind of money over the grant of the
patent. However, when a patentee sells his patented invention to a
third party, he gets money. The patentee has all the rights to sell
his invention exclusively and/or non-exclusively to any person/party
or he may choose to sell his invention for a royalty.
The granting authority will not give any money to the patentee.
Rather the inventor has to spend lot of money to get the patent
rights over his invention and also to spend lot of money to maintain
What does a patent application contain?
A patent application has the following information:
(a) Bibliographic: It is in structure format. It contains the
title of the invention, date of filing, country of filing,
inventor's name etc.
(b) Background of the invention or State of the art: In this
the inventor lists the state of the art available on the date of
filing his invention. Here the inventor lists the
shortcomings/drawbacks found in the state of the art and defines his
(c) Description of the invention: In this the inventor
describes his invention duly supported by a series of workable
examples along with diagrams/charts, if needed. The invention has to
be described in complete details, so that any person, who is skilled
in the art, can work out the invention.
(d) Claims: In the last, the inventor has to bring out a
series of claims establishing his rights over the state of the art.
It is this portion, upon which the protection is granted and not on
the description of the invention. This has to be carefully drafted.
Who should draft the patent application?
Though the inventor himself can draft the application, it is
desirable that a patent attorney should be hired to do this job. A
look on the closely related patent applications already
filed/granted, will render help to a great extent.
When one should access the patent literature?
Before the start of the research and development project or when
stuck up with a technical problem. 80% of the literature covered in
the patent documents is never published in any scientific and
technical journal. Patent literature is the goldmine of information.
Why one should access the patent literature?
Before the start of the research and development project, one should
scan the patent literature to stop re-inventing the wheel OR
during the development phase, when stuck up with a technical problem
to find a technical solution OR
once the research is complete i.e. at the time of filing the patent
application, to narrow down or broaden the claims and/or to draft
the application for getting a patent.
Which are the main sources for patent information?
National Patent offices, International Information vendors like
Dialog, Orbit, Questel
STN, free or charge based patent web sites on Internet.
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