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Patent Protection In India: All You Need to Know

If you create any form of intellectual property, take advantage of India’s IP protection laws. This is to make sure that your property isn’t stolen or misused by others. Trademark law protects the marks uniquely associated with your company. For example your logo. The copyright law on the other hand covers any literary or artistic work that you create. This includes films and software. Is your IP taking the form of an invention or innovation? Understanding the ins and outs of India’s patent protection laws is key. Equally important is to understand the patent registration process.

What Innovations Qualify for Patent Protection?

Only inventions are eligible for patent protection under the Indian law. Not every innovation qualifies. The first key qualifying element is novelty. If your innovation or invention has existed or been sold either within or outside India, it doesn’t qualify. Other obligatory elements are non-obviousness and utility, or usefulness.

Within these general guidelines, several exceptions exist. Innovations that are not eligible for patent protection include:

1. Agricultural methods

2. Medicinal processes

3. Discoveries of new uses for existing objects

4. Frivolous inventions.

Pharmaceutical products may be patented. However, any new plants and animals may not. Business methods may be patented. But only if they meet the requirements of novelty, utility and non-obviousness. Indian courts have yet to decide conclusively whether computer programs may be patented.

What Rights Are Included in Patent Protection?

Once you have patented an invention, you have the right to keep anyone else from duplicating your invention. No one else may use it without your permission, or offer it for sale in India. If you’ve patented a process, you can prevent anyone else from using the process. You can also prevent anyone from using any products that result from application of the process. Additionally, you can even keep anyone else from selling your process. Or from selling products obtained from using your process.

How to Apply for a Patent in India?

The patent process in India begins with an application and request for examination. You file both of these with the Indian Patent Office. On filling, you’ll receive a first examination report. This report may raise a number of objections. You have 12 months to respond to these objections and comply with any requirements laid out in the report. Additionally, others may file a statement of formal opposition against your patent application during the first six months of this period. Say for example, if someone feels that you are infringing on a patent they already hold.

If you don’t respond to the first examination report, the Patent Office believes that you’ve abandoned your request for a patent. But, if you comply with the requirements and respond to all the objections adequately, the Patent Office grants you a patent. It even publishes notice of your patent in the Patent Office Journal. All your rights as a patent holder then go into effect.

Patent laws and requirements are subject to change. Therefore, it’s often a good idea to consult with a patent attorney. This is to make sure you have all your paperwork in order. Once you have a patent, you get assured that your intellectual property is appropriately protected.