The publicly available information through patent causes problems for the commercialization of knowledge. Anybody can use the freely available technical knowledge from the invention for commercial benefits without recognizing the creativity of the inventor or contribution to the investments made by the inventor. This results in discouragement to bring new inventions to the market, and tend to keep their commercially valuable inventions secret. Patenting system helps to correct such situations by giving the innovators the possibility to receive appropriate returns on their innovative activities.
In other words, the public disclosure of the technical knowledge in the patent, and the exclusive right granted by the patent, offer incentives for competitors to search for alternative solutions and to “invent around” the first invention. The incentives and the dissemination of knowledge about new inventions encourage new innovation, which assures that the quality of human life and the well-being of society is continuously improved.
Patented inventions have touched every walk of human life, from electric bulb, rubber, tire, telephone, radio, video, camera etc.
Patent offers a number of advantages such as:
- Patent provides incentives to individuals by giving them recognition for their creativity in the form of inventions.
- Individuals are rewarded for their inventions.
- The publication of patent and patent application helps in spread of new knowledge and motivate others to carry on innovation activities.
- The publicly available knowledge can be used by many people simultaneously.
There are number of reasons for which a patent owner may like to grant a license to a third party. For example, the patent owner may not have the required manufacturing facilities, and therefore allows others to make and sell his/her patented invention in return for “royalty” payments. In another case, a patent owner may have inadequate manufacturing facilities to meet the market demand. In such cases, he/she may be interested to license the patent to another manufacturer in order to gain from another income stream. Yet in another situation, the patent owner wishes to concentrate on one geographic market and therefore may choose to grant a license to another individual/organization, with interests in other geographical markets. A licensing agreement can help to develop a mutually-beneficial business relationship. Unlike selling or transferring a patent to another party, the licensor continues to have property rights over the patented invention.
A patent owner may license his or her patented invention by granting permission to another individual/organization to make, use, sell etc. The licensing is done on agreed terms and conditions (for example, the amount and type of payment to be made by the licensee to the licensor), for a defined purpose, in a defined territory, and for an agreed period of time.
Patent is thus a dedicated branch/field of Intellectual Property Right (IPR) domain, [which essentially provides legal protection for anything that originates in human mind], which enables to legally protect implementable ideas.
One can claim tangible objects like car, house, computer, mobile phones, etc., as owned/owner when they have a receipt of buying or purchase or any document that says that the object belong to him/her. However, the ideas originating in a human mind/intellect is very difficult to claim or own as anybody else can very easily steal/claim the idea since there is no proof of origin with the owner. Such ideas become critically important if they are implementable to generate or manufacture or achieve tangible results/objects. Thus, protection of such implementable ideas is very essential.
Patent is a legal right given to a person who is a true and a first inventor, of any idea/concept which is implementable in nature (referred to as Invention), by the Government of a particular country or authorized patent office of the particular country for a limited time period (20 years) against the disclosure of his idea/concept which is implementable. The legal right is given to the owner of the patent (inventor) to prohibit other from making, using, selling or importing the patented invention.
Patent can be obtained in the particular country by disclosing the details/information associated with the invention in techno-legal form. The legal right (patent) is given by respective jurisdictions (countries/jurisdictions) in which the inventors apply for patent. More specifically, Patent is territorial right i.e., for example, if a person files a patent application to get patent for his implementable idea in United States and not in Australia, the person would get a patent in United States and not in Australia.
The legal right is required, as the inventor is the originator/true and first inventor of the invention and do not want anybody (other person or any company) to copy or steal his invention without his knowledge.
A person or an organization other than the patent owner cannot use the patent until the patent owner gives permission for its use on mutually agreed terms. Owner of the patent can also give license to other parties to use the invention on mutually agreed terms. The owner may also sell the right to the invention to someone else, who will then become the new owner of the patent
Is the ownership of a patent for the whole life of the patent? No, the patent is granted for a specified period. After expiry of the period, the patent expires, the protection ends, and an invention enters the public domain. After expiry of the period granted, the patent is open and the invention can be commercially exploited by anyone without infringing the patent. Patent term varies from country to country, usually it is 20 years. There are many factors with which patent term changes so roughly it is 20 years but it varies based on term extensions, terminal disclaimer etc.
A patent owner has the right to decide who may – or may not – use the patented invention for the period in which the invention is protected. In other words, patent protection means that the invention cannot be commercially made, used, distributed, or sold by others without the patent owner’s consent.
Patents may be granted for inventions in any field of technology, from an everyday maintenance tools to a missile technology. An invention can be a product – such as a car, or a process for producing a car, specific cement, steel or a chemical compound. Many countries have a negative list of items which can not be protected like software per se, business methods, atomic energy related , army related etc this list varies from country to country.
A product may contain a number of inventions. For example, a laptop computer can involve hundreds of inventions, working together like invention of mother board, screen, mouse etc. Each can have its own patent.
No, patent rights are territorial rights. In general, the exclusive rights are valid only in the country or region in which a patent has been filed and granted as per the law of that country or region.
On the initiative of the right owner, patent rights are enforced in a country. A court of law has the authority to stop patent infringement. It is the responsibility of the patent owner to monitor, identify, and take action against infringers of a patent.