1. What is Intellectual Property?

The term Intellectual Property refers to the creations of human mind such as inventions, literary, artistic works and designs used in commerce. It is loosely defined as the ‘Product of Mind’. It is similar to the property which can be used by the owner alone and not lawfully by others without owner’s permission.

2. What are Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)?

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protect the interest of creators by giving them property rights over their creations. IPR protect the application of thoughts, ideas & information which are of commercial value.

3. What are the different forms of IPR?

The different forms of IPR are

•    Patents
•    Copyrights
•    Trademarks
•    Industrial Designs
•    Geographical Indications
•    Protection of New Plant Varieties
•    Layout Design of Integrated Circuits
•    Protection of Undisclosed Information  (Trade Secrets)

4. What is a Patent?

Patent is a grant for an invention by the Government to the inventor in exchange of full disclosure of the invention to debar others to exploit the invention for commercial success for a limited period within the geographical boundaries of the Nation.

5. Who can obtain a Patent?

An inventor or any other person/company assigned by the inventor can obtain the Patent over his invention.

6. What kind of protection does a Patent offer?

Patent protection means that the invention cannot be commercially made, used, distributed or sold without the Patent owner’s consent. These Patent rights are usually enforced in a Court, which in most systems holds the authority to stop Patent infringement. Conversely, a Court can also declare a Patent invalid upon a successful challenge by a third party.

7. Why are Patents necessary?

Patents provide incentives to individuals by offering them recognition for their creativity and material reward for their marketable inventions. These incentives encourage innovation, which assures that the quality of human life is continuously enhanced.

8. How is a Patent granted?

The first step in securing a Patent is the filing of a Patent application. The Patent application generally contains the title of the invention, as well as an indication of its technical field; it must include the background and a description of the invention in clear language and enough detail that an individual with an average understanding of the field could use or reproduce the invention. Such descriptions are usually accompanied by visual materials such as drawings, plans or diagrams to better describe the invention. The application also contains various “claims”, that is, information which determines the extent of protection granted by the Patent.

9.  Up to what extent the inventor has to disclose his invention to get a Patent?

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.

10. When should an application for a Patent be filed?

Filing of an application for a Patent should be completed at the earliest possible date and should not be delayed. An application filed with provisional specification, disclosing the essence of the nature of the invention helps to register the priority by the applicant. Delay in filing an application may face some risks such as (i) some other inventor might file a patent application on the said invention and (ii) there may be either an inadvertent publication of the invention by the inventor himself/herself or by others independently of him/her.

11. What kinds of inventions can be protected?

An invention must, in general, fulfill the following conditions to be protected by a Patent. It must be of practical use; it must show an element of novelty, that is, some new characteristic which is not known in the body of existing knowledge in its technical field. This body of existing knowledge is called “prior art”. The invention must show an inventive step, which could not be deduced by a person with average knowledge of the technical field. Finally, its subject matter must be accepted as “patentable” under law. In many Countries, scientific theories, mathematical methods, plant or animal varieties, discoveries of natural substances, commercial methods, or methods for medical treatment (as opposed to medical products) are generally not patentable.

12. Who grants Patents?

A Patent is granted by a National Patent Office or by a Regional Office that does the work for a number of Countries. Under such regional systems, an applicant requests protection for the invention in one or more countries, and each country decides as to whether to offer patent protection within its borders. The WIPO-administered                Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) provides for the filing of a single International Patent Application, which has the same effect as national applications filed in the designated countries. An applicant seeking protection may file one application and request protection in as many signatory states as needed.

13. Where to file Patent Application?

Filing Indian Patents (For applications from Kerala)

Address    Phone/ Fax /Email
Patent office ,
Chennai Branch    Patent Office
Intellectual Property Office Building
G.S.T Road, Guindy,
Chennai – 600032

Phone :(91)(44)22502031-35
Fax      :(91)(44) 22502066
Email:  chennai-patent@nic.inThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: www.ipindia.nic.in

14. How to file Patent Application for different Countries?

•    If the Country of interest is a member Country of PCT then one can file through PCT and mention the names of Countries of interest as designated state.
•    If the Country of interest is not a member Country of PCT then one can file Patent application in respective Patent office of the Country of interest.

Inventor can file PCT application in respective Country of interest

15. What is considered as the date of Patent?

The date of Patent is the date of filing the application for Patent (whether provisional or complete). The term of the Patent is counted from this date.

16. How long is a Patent valid?

In India, term of the patent is 20 years from the date of filing for all types of inventions

17. Is a Patent granted in one Country enforceable in other Countries?

No. There is nothing like a Global Patent or a World Patent. Patent rights are essentially territorial in nature and are protected only in a Country (or Countries) which, has (have) granted these rights. In other words,-for obtaining Patent rights in different Countries, one has to submit Patent application in all the Countries of interest for grant of Patents. This would entail payment of official fees and associated expenses, like the attorney fees, essential for obtaining Patent rights in each Country. However, there are some regional systems where by filing one application one could simultaneously obtain Patents in the member Countries of a regional system; European Patent Office is an example of a similar system.

18. Which is the appropriate office in India in relation to International applications?

An International Patent application can be filed in any of the Branch Offices of the Patent Office located at New Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata (Head Office). Any of these Offices shall function as receiving office, designated office and elected office for the purpose of International applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

19. How does a Patent get expire? / Is there any expiry date for the Patent?

A Patent can expire in the following ways:

1. 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.

2. The patentee has failed to pay the renewal fee. A Patent once granted by the Government has to be maintained by paying annual renewal fee.

3. 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.

20. 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 there, whereas an Indian Patent is granted by the Indian Patent Office to an inventor, who has filed his application in Indian Patent office.

A Patent granted by a Patent Office is applicable with in 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.

21. 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)

22. What is Patent Cooperation treaty (PCT)?

The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is a multilateral treaty entered into force in 1978. Through PCT, an inventor of a member Country (Contracting state of PCT can simultaneously obtain priority for his/her Invention in all/ any of the member Countries, without having to file a separate application in the Countries of interest , by designating them in the PCT application .India joined the PCT on December 7, 1998. All activities related to PCT are coordinated by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) situated in Geneva.

23. What is the need for PCT?

In order to protect your invention in other Countries, you are required to file an independent Patent application in each Country of interest; in some cases , within a stipulated time to obtain priority in these Countries .This would entail a large investment, within a short time, to meet costs towards filing fees, translation, attorney charges etc.
Inventors of Contracting States of PCT on the other hand can simultaneously obtain priority for their inventions without having to file separate application in the Countries of interest; thus saving the initial investments towards filing fees, translation etc. In addition, the system provides much longer time for filing Patent application in member Countries. The time available under Paris Convention for securing priority in other countries is 12 months from the date of initial filing. Under the PCT, the time available could be as much as minimum 20 and maximum 31 months. Further, an inventor is also benefited by the search report prepared under the PCT system to be sure that the claimed invention is novel.

24. 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.

25. 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 or common knowledge.

26.  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 his Patent.

27. What is a Copyright?

Copyright is a legal concept giving the creator of original work exclusive rights to it usually for a limited time. The work includes artistic creations such as Books, Music, Paintings, Sculptures, Films and Computer Programs.

28. What is the term of a Copyright?

a)    If published within the lifetime of the author of a literary work, the term is for the lifetime of the author plus 60 years.
b)    For cinematography films, records, photographs, posthumous publications, anonymous publication, works of Government and International agencies, the       term is 60 years from the beginning of the calendar year following the year in        which the work was published.
c)    For broadcasting, the term is 25 years from the beginning of the calendar year following the year, in which the broadcast was made.

29. What is a Trademark?

A Trademark is a distinctive sign or indicator of some kind which is used by an individual, business organization to identify uniquely the source of their products and to distinguish their products or services from those of other  entities

30. What is an Industrial Design?

An Industrial Design is the ornamental or aesthetic aspect of an article. The design may consist of three-dimensional features, such as the shape or surface of an article, or of  two-dimensional features, such as patterns, lines or color. An Industrial Design is primarily of an aesthetic nature, and does not protect any technical features of the article to which it is applied

31. What is a Geographical Indication?

A Geographical Indication is a sign used on goods that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that place of origin. Some of the examples of Geographical Indications include Basmati Rice, Darjeeling Tea, Aranmula Mirror, Kanchipuram Silk Saree, Nagpur Orange, Champagne etc.

32. How the Layout Design of Integrated Circuit is protected?

Semiconductor Integrated Circuits (IC) Layout Design Act, 2000 provides protection for semiconductor IC layout designs.

33. What is a Trade Secret?

A Trade Secret (“Confidential Information”) is secret, non-public information concerning the commercial practices or proprietary knowledge of a business, public disclosure of which may sometimes be illegal.