Patents Basics


Basics Of Patent Protection

A patent is an exclusive right granted by the state for the novel invention of a process or product for a specified period. A patent gives the holder the sole right to use and exploit the invention for a particular time as specified by law. For such enormous benefits granted by the state, the inventor is required to disclose all the technical information used in the making of such an invention. This disclosure requirement is`such that an expert in the same field would be able to recreate the product or process with the information provided.

Learn about patent basics in just five minutes.

From the above explanations, there are three significant characteristics of patents:

●     It is an exclusive right granted to the holder over his invention

●     The state grants the exclusive right

●     The patent grant is for a fixed period (usually 20 years in most countries).

Patents are granted for some or all of these reasons:

●     For the investor to recoup the resources invested into the creation of a novel invention

●     To foster technological developments in society

●     To protect and develop the intellectual property domain

●     To give rise to the economic benefits available in the grant of patent e.g., licensing agreements, employment opportunities, etc.

Before a patent is granted under most patent laws, it must meet the following requirements:

●     The invention must be statutory i.e. the subject matter must be eligible under the law

●     It must be novel or new

●     The invention must be useful

●     The invention must be non-obvious (under U.S. Patent Law)/ It must involve an inventive step (under European patent laws)

The administration of a patent is usually carried out and regulated by a government agency. In the United States, the administrative agency is the U.S. Patent Office. The agency is responsible for collation, registration, processing, and grant of patents within the U.S. territory.

What are the different types of patents?

It is important to know the different types of patents

There are four different types of patents, and these provide enough options for inventors to protect their works legally.

  1. Provisional Patent: Just like the name implies, the patent granted under this category is incomplete. Provisional patents indicate that the invention is within the possession of the inventor and has a blueprint of how the invention would work. Successful applicants for provisional patents are required to file a utility patent within a year of filing for a provisional patent. Also, filings for provisional patents are less formal and rigorous.
  2. Utility Patent: This is the most common type of patent filing. It is the generic form of patent filing for new inventions. Utility patents are protected for twenty years. To be awarded a utility patent, the applicant needs to file a technical document that discloses the procedure of making the invention or the newly discovered process that is being considered for patent protection.
  3. Design Patent: This type of patent is used to protect functional items or designs. For instance, parts of a user interface in phones, button designs, shoe designs can be protected in this category. One of the significant differences between this patent and Industrial Design (another branch of IP) is that the items that can be protected under design patents must be functional.
  4. Plant Patent: Manufacturers of plant varieties now enjoy the protection of a patent under this type of parent. New breeds can be patented just like other categories. However, this category is highly regulated and restricted to conventional plant breeds.

What can prevent a patent from being granted?

Things to consider before applying for a Patent Application

As powerful as a patent grant can be, it is no news that applications for patents have been refused by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

So, what can prevent a patent from being granted?

There are several reasons a patent application may be refused. Some of the primary reasons include:

  1. Non-Disclosure of Priority date: Disclosing the priority date in an application for patent is vital. It is required that every patent application filed with the USPTO contains a priority date and failure to include the same will be fatal to the processing of such application. Also, a priority date is required to be provided before the invention is disclosed to the public.
  2. Existing Claims: If the patent being requested for is similar to any invention which is currently under the protection of the patent law, then such a new application will be refused. This is because the “novelty” of an invention is fundamental to the grant of its patent. If there is an existing claim of such an invention, then the patent will not be granted.
  3. Existing Enabling Publication: An enabling publication is one of the defensive methods of preventing a patent from being registered. What this implies is that if the USPTO discovers that there is an enabling publication for an invention, a patent can no longer be granted to such an invention.

Patent grants are one of the high-quality methods the government uses to drive creativity and innovation in the country and dynamism in the economy. Although it provides a monopoly for the inventor, it remains an impressive way to drive growth and development.

How royalty is calculated

Royalties are mostly sharable profits. As the per the information shared by Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), “Copyright, trademark and patent holders may license others to use or produce the good, usually in return for a fixed payment and a royalty rate” . Whether you are dealing with tangible or intangible asset, royalty payments are a compulsory thing.

Royalty payments are calculated on the types of royalty agreement made between two parties – it can be calculated on gross revenue, net revenue, price per unit, minimum sale, or fixed amount. Basically, a percentage of net revenue is given to the owner for exploitation of licensor’s intellectual property. When you consider a fixed amount of royalty, the licensee and licensor agrees to pay certain amount of profit percentage in between the agreement period. Nobody can change the agreement throughout the term of licensing contract and abide to do the same.

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