Q1 - What is a Patent?

A Patent is an exclusive monopoly granted by the Government to an inventor over his invention for limited period of time.

Q2 - Who can obtain a Patent?

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

Q3 - How a patent is obtained/ filed?

A patent is obtained by the inventor or his assignee by filing an application with the patent office in the stipulated forms as required by the Patent act of that country.

Q4 - Why one should go for a patent?

To enjoy the exclusive rights over the invention. If the inventor does not get the patent rights over his invention and introduce his product/process based on his invention in the market, anybody can copy his invention and exploit it commercially. To debar others from using, selling or working out his invention, the inventor must go for getting a patent.

Q5 - Why does the Government encourage filing of patents?

To encourage innovation and investment in research and development activities so that there is economic, industrial and technological development in the country.

Q6 - How does a patent document help in R&D?

Study of a Patent document may stop re-inventing the wheel. A Scientist, who has not consulted the patent literature, may start working on a problem for which the solution might have already been found by someone else and it is available in the patent literature.

Q7 - Which invention qualifies for the grant of a patent?

A patent is granted only on that invention, which is new, non-obvious and has industrial applicability.

Q8 - Upto 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.

Q9 - How does a patent get expire?

A patent can expire in the following ways:

(a) 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.

(b) 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.

(c) 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.


Q10 - 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).

Q11 - 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 of common knowledge.

Q12 - When one should access the patent literature?

Before the start of the research and development project or when stuck up with a technical problem. 80% of the literature covered in the patent documents is never published in any scientific and technical journal. Patent literature is the goldmine of information.

Q13 - Why one should access the patent literature?

Before the start of the research and development project, one should scan the patent literature to stop re-inventing the wheel OR

during the development phase, when stuck up with a technical problem OR

to find a technical solution OR

once the research is complete i.e. at the time of filing the patent application, to narrow down or broaden the claims and/or to draft the application for getting a patent.