What is a Patent? – Everything You Need to Know About Patents

Know how you can make your innovation yours alone with the help of the government

A patent is a legal document granted to an individual (usually the inventor) by the government. The document provides the inventor with the exclusive, legal right to create, use or sell an invention. Patents come with a certain validity period and expiry date. You can also file a patent claim for making a significant improvement on items invented previously. Simply put, when you invent something new or improve an already existing product, you need to apply for a patent to get exclusive benefits.

The objective behind the launch of the patent system

Patents give individuals recognition for their innovation, and possibly a material reward. Globally, the basic rule of patenting remains the same: it allows the owner exclusive rights to prevent others from recreating the patented innovation.

This can be done through a patent claim. A patent claim is the most important section of the patent and is the way through which a patent owner can file an infringement suit in case their innovation has been commercially exploited by somebody else. Patent claims can be of two types: independent and dependent.

Facts about the Patent law

Now that we know what a patent claim is, let’s look at some basic laws surrounding patents.

Patent law is a component of the broader framework regarded as intellectual property. Legal aspects include protecting your intellectual property rights, including trademarking, copyrighting and protecting trade secrets.

While trying to patent an invention, the inventor must ensure that their design meets three basic requirements.

  1. Novelty: For an invention to be considered a novelty, it has to be new.
  2. Usefulness: For an invention to be considered useful it should be able to perform what it intends to while serving a useful purpose
  3. Inventive or lacking obviousness: An Inventive patent is provided when a series of original steps are taken in the creation of an idea or product.

The patent law prevents the use of the invention not just by imitators but also by independent devisors. This means that no other party can use the same idea or invention as the individual patenting it, for a specific duration of time. However, the patent holder can choose to sell his idea/invention or license it or utilize it to enhance his business and commercial prospects.

Types of Patents

Based on your invention, you can file for three kinds of patents. These are:

  1. Utility Patents: Patents that cover inventions resulting in usefulness. However, India does not have system of Utility patents.
  2. Design Patents: Patents that cover the shape or surface of a physical object
  3. Plant Patents: Patents that cover asexually reproducing plants

Other things to know about patents

  • The patent holder can use the patent to prevent others from copying the product or service. This poses difficulties for competitors
  • Patents aren’t easily available and are granted only if an invention or design meets the above-mentioned requirements, i.e. novelty, usefulness, inventiveness.



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