An idea can turn your life around, but do not be surprised if you see its replicas all over the place in a short time period. After all, plagiarism and piracy are rampant in India. However, these two evils can be overcome through a simple copyright or patent. Let us have a look at how can an individual protect his work in India.
What is a patent?
There are three factors, which determine whether an idea can be patented. These are:
Next, merely an idea cannot be a patent. Either you have to make the product you have invented or you have to submit a detailed process, which describes the steps to build that product.
How do you determine whether your invention is patentable?
Firstly, you need to hire a patent attorney with prior experience and submit your patent idea to him. The attorney will then have to access databases to ensure that your invention or any part of your invention has not already been patented by someone else.
Next, you will have to make the patent application. You will have to file a provisional patent application and then complete the application within a year. The provisional patent application is given to those people who are still in the process of completing their invention.
Once these formalities are over, the patent office examines the invention to ensure that it has not been copied. This procedure can take up to a year and a half. After this, the invention is put up on their website to see if anybody makes any counter claim about the invention. It takes about two to three years for the entire process to be completed.
What is the patenting fee?
The fee for filing a patent application is Rs.750 for individuals and Rs. 3,000 for legal entities. A legal entity is a group or association of people, which has legal standing in front of the law. For examination of a patent, the fee for an individual is Rs.1,000 whereas legal entities have to pay Rs.3,000. For sealing of the patent, an individual has to pay Rs.1,500 and a legal entity has to pay Rs.5,000.
What inventions cannot be patented?
Medical inventions, agricultural inventions, inventions which are against public order, an invention which has been derived from ancient knowledge, inventions related to atomic energy, duplication of an already patented invention, discovery of something; non living or living thing, which is already present in nature, mathematical or business methods or a computer algorithm and so on cannot be patented.
What does the patent entail?
Once you have a patent on a product or service, you are the exclusive owner of the invention. No one, besides you can sell, manufacture, use or market that product, unless you sell your rights or have given your consent. A patent is applicable for only 20 years. Also, it has territorial restrictions. So, your patent only extends to the boundaries of India. But you can file patents in multiple countries if you like. You have to pay an annual patent fee, failing which, your patent will cease to exist and anybody can use it.
This was a brief explanation to file a patent in India. Though, this process takes a long time to complete, it legally protects the rights of inventors and innovators.
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