PATENT LAWS – AN OVERVIEW
In generic terms, the word "patent" comes from the Latin word "patere," which implies "to lay open," or to make anything available for public inspection. India's patent laws have a long history that begins with the British colonial era. The majority of our legal framework was derived from English law. In India, the first legal structure governing patents appeared in 1856. The Indian Patent and Designs Act, 1911, was yet another later development. Before being officially repealed by the Indian Patents Act, 1970, it was changed quite a bit. The British Patents Act, 1949 served as the inspiration for the Act of 1970. As a result, it is clear that India did not start working seriously on creating a comprehensive set of rules to regulate patents until after its independence in 1947. To provide recommendations and modifications to the patent laws, two significant committees were established.
They were the Ayyangar Committee and the Patent Enquiry Committee, which operated from 1948 to 1959. The Ayyangar Committee highlighted the fact that international market forces in this field were unfairly exploiting the Indian market, and that there was therefore a need to protect indigenous players from this unfair competition, whilst the first committee highlighted how the Indian patent system was weak and had failed to spur inventions and innovation among the Indians. These suggestions served as the foundation for the 1970 Indian Patents Act. The Patents (Amendment) Act, 2005 made additional changes to the Indian Patents Act, 1970, bringing it into compliance with the TRIPS agreement that India signed as a result of being a World Trade Organization member (WTO).
The steps required to get a patent for an innovation are outlined in the Patents Act and start with filing an application with the Indian Patent Office. Additionally, procedures for pre- and post-grant opposition exist. It means that a person is permitted to oppose an inventor's application for a patent either before it is issued or after, with different legal requirements in each case. The reasons on which one can submit an objection are outlined in a growing list. Each individual patent typically spans a 20-year validity. After a patent's expiration date, it's also very simple to reinstate it. The Civil Court and no other specific judicial entity come into picture in the case of patent infringement.
To be patentable, an invention must meet all of the conditions that appraise the innovation's suitability for patent grant from several angles. Some of the prerequisites are easier to meet than others, but they are all equally crucial in determining patentability.
5 Crucial Patentability Requirements are as follows –
Patentable Subject Matter
These requirements can be compared to a series of filters. All the inventions that pass through these filters are regarded as patentable.
SCOPE OF PATENT LAWS
Before moving into the objective of Patent law, we all know patent law is vital since it encourages technological innovation. By defending the rights of the innovators, it promotes scientific investigation and progress. The patent licensing process is governed and assisted by patent law. The primary goal of the development of patent law was to guarantee that invention is unconstrained and to encourage individuals to continually innovate by providing protection for their creations. As a result, patent law is vital because it safeguards innovator’s rights.
Need for such law?
The primary goal of patents was to facilitate novel discovery, technological innovation, and industrial development.
A patent gives the inventor the authority to produce, use, market, sell, and import the invention for the predetermined time. In other words, the patent holder has the exclusive authority to forbid or halt anyone from making use of the protected innovation for commercial purposes.
Types of Patent Applications
(i) Provisional Application
To claim the precedence, a preliminary application is submitted to the patent office. This kind of application is typically submitted when an inventor needs more time to refine his or her idea. The Indian Patent Office's "First to File" policy makes this application advantageous. By applying early, the inventor avoids the possibility that any comparable innovations may be considered prior art for the application.
In this kind of application, the entire specification must be submitted within 12 months of the date the provisional application was filed; otherwise, the application would be cancelled.
(ii) Non – Provisional or Ordinary Application
When there is no precedence or priority to be claimed by the inventor, then the inventor files this application along with complete details about the invention before the patent office.
(iii) Conventional Application
A convention application is a patent application submitted to the Patent Office that claims a priority date based on an application that was submitted in one or more of the convention nations and is identical to or substantially comparable to that application. An applicant must submit their application to the Indian Patent Office within 12 months of the date on which a comparable application was first submitted in the convention nation in order to receive the status of convention.
(iv) PCT International Application
This type is a one-shot application process valid in 142 countries and regulated by the Patent Corporation Treaty.
(v) PCT National Phase Application
Here, the inventor submits an application in every nation he/she desires to be protected. The application has to be initiated within 30 or 31 months from the priority date or the international filing date.
(vi) Application for Patent of Addition
When an inventor who has already applied for or received a patent comes up with an improvement or modification to the invention that was previously detailed or disclosed in the primary application, this sort of application is produced. There is no need to pay a separate renewal fee.
(vii) Divisional Application
When an application submitted by the applicant claims more than one invention, the applicant may divide the application and submit two or more applications, one for each invention, on his own or in response to an official objection. Divisional Applications are these applications that are split apart from the parent application. Each and every divisional application will have the same priority date as that asserted by the parent application (Ante-dating).
Remedies – Patent Infringement
According to Section 108 of the Act, the reliefs that a court may issue in any infringement suit include an injunction subject to whatever restrictions the court deems appropriate and, at the plaintiff's discretion or option, either damages or an account of profits.
The Patent Act has aided the inventors in holding their rights to advertise and defend their innovations from interference. And this has ultimately led to the development of commerce and technology in the society in respective fields.
This article is written by Adyaan S Khan of BMS College of Law.