A patent is termed as the exclusionary rights given by the government or the authorized authority to its inventor for a particular duration of time, in respect of his invention.
It is the part of the intellectual property right, which connotes with all those rights which are granted to any person for protecting its invention, process, discovery, composition or new useful development etc. from its further usage without any authentication.
If more than two persons have jointly applied for patent license, both will own the patent separately. The original word ‘patent’ has come up from the Latin term ‘pat ere’, which means ‘to lay open’ or ‘available for public usage’.
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Sometimes it is also related to the term ‘letters patent’, which marks to the royal decree granting exclusive rights to patentee.
Unlike copyright, patent is not granted on giving mere suggestion or idea. An idea of mere manufacturing machine does not come under the purview of obtaining patent.
The roots of patents can be tracked back into the ancient Greek cities, where one person found out the new recipe and was given 1 year exclusive right of making food.
The modem sense of patents were originated in 1474, when the Republic of Venice issued a decree and made it mandatory to communicate all new discovered products to the Republic, after they have been put into practice.
The decree was enacted to prevent the usage of same products by the other persons. With the statues of monopolies, under the kingship of James I in 1623, a declaration was made which made it obligatory to patent the ‘projects of new invention’.
Afterwards, in the regime of Queen Anne (1702-1714), the writing description of new invention has been enacted by the lawyers of English court. These developments laid down the foundation of United States modern patent laws. In Italy, first patent was issued by the Republic of Florence in 1421.
Oftentimes patents are wrongfully understood as a right to use the’ invention. Reversely, it is the right which excludes other persons from using, making or importing the particular product or invention but for a fixed duration of tenure.
The patent provides the protection period of usually 20 years from the date of filling the application, which can vary in throughout the world.
Like of a property right, patent rights can also be sold, mortgaged, licensed, and transferred to a third party. One can completely write off/abandon patent rights granted to him.
The ability to transfer the patent rights to a third party increases its liquidity. After obtaining patent license, more often inventors sell it off to third parties.
Then third parties use it as they themselves have originally made the patented inventions. However, patent doesn’t give any exploitation rights to patent holder. Many new inventions are the outcome of improvement done on prior one.
For example, an inventor uses the patented keyboard designs and adds new features onto it and obtains patent on its improvised version. In future, he can build his new keyboard design only after getting approval from the patent holder of the original keyboard design, if the prior patent is still in force.
On the other side, owner of the improved keyboard design can patent his invention and excludes its original patent holder from usage of its invention.
Generally both natural person and a whole entity can apply for a patent. However, it is somehow necessitated in almost all nations, to give the name of inventor(s) in the public record and what is the procedure they have followed in acquiring the exclusive rights for inventions.
To successfully enacting the patent laws within its national territorial, every country has their own patent offices. For’ requesting the patent license, a written application is needed to be file in the patent office within jurisdiction for granting the patent license for the particular geographical area over which it is required.
The application contains a description of making and usefulness of the intended patent product. The written description filed by the applicant is known as the patent specification. It contains the specifications of figures, biological composition or computer code, as a reference to the subject matter of patent application.
The specification provided is sometimes accustomed with the illustrative drawings of invention. In some nations, like the USA, applicant is required to detail the best and effective method of making and practicing the invention. In the end of the application, the patent application is required to mention about the claims.
The procedure of granting patents and the rules abide on the patentee are different in every country as per their national laws and international treaties. Therefore, patents are sometimes characterized as the territorial in nature.
In many nations, certain areas such as business methods and mental work do not come under the purview of patent. Like the United States of America, covers the research work under patent head and it may be termed as infringement with the discovery of any new invention, which is headed towards by using the already patented invention, gut Australian patent law rules out infringement exceptions for those who conduct research on the invention.
Many nations have implemented their patent law which except its inventor excludes other people from usage, selling, manufacturing or importing the patented invention.
Generally patent is enforceable in civil lawsuits. Like in USA, hearing for patent infringement case is undertaken in the United States federal court.
Usually patent holder gets monetary compensation from any past patent infringement and seeks for injunction, which in turns prohibits the other party to involve in any infringement case in nearby future. In case of infringement, patent holder needs to establish that the infringer has actually undergone in practicing patented invention.
One of the drawbacks from patent holder part in complete asserting of patent in civil cases is the ability of accused infringer to challenge the validity of patent and its holder.
There are innumerable examples in which patents have been declared invalid during the civil court litigation. The set of rules for patent legislation on the basis of which respective patent can be declared invalid, vary from one nation to another.
For facilitating the efficient use of patent on the global map, the Patent Law Treaty or PLT has been signed in this direction by 53 nations and 1 intergovernmental organization-the European Patent Organization.
The treaty was signed on 1st June 2000 in Geneva, Switzerland. Its purpose is to easier the official procedures required to be followed while obtaining the filling date for patent application, the form and content of application.
But due to its restrictions to some of the formalities, it has confined only to a particular class group. Therefore, the term ‘Substantial Patent Law Treaty'(SPLT) has come into effect which is used interchangeably with the PLT.
Whereas the PLT is confined only to some formalities, the SPLT goes further in harmonizing substantive requirements of novelty, inventive step, utility, sufficient disclosure etc.