Are Rajinikanth’s Methods Patentable?

This post was first published on July 27th, 2011.
Patentability of process inventions has always been interesting and controversial. We have earlier reported that the methods of performing yoga, massaging, walking on water and so on are patentable. After reading some of these posts, one of my colleagues (seemingly a big Rajinikanth fan) was curious about the patentability of Rajinikanth’s methods and hence this post.

Let us begin with the basics. As per the Indian Patents Act, any process or product is patentable if it meets all patentability requirements. All methods are therefore patentable unless they are expressly excluded under Section 3, which provides a list of non-patentable inventions. Non-patentable methods include medical methods, business methods and so on.

Now, moving to the Super Star, Rajinikanth. All of us who watch south Indian movies know him very well. He is a great entertainer and has more than one trick up his sleeve in every movie. His tricks range from lighting a cigarette in the air to swirling his glares before wearing them. Let us consider the process of lighting a cigarette in the air for our analysis purposes. In one embodiment, his process includes the following steps:

  • holding the cigarette  between the index and middle finger;

  • Tossing the cigarette in the air at a ninety-degree angle;

  • Lighting  a match stick; and

  • Throwing the match at an angle of impact on the tip of the cigarette.

Each step, of course, has multiple embodiments.  Such a method would definitely be patentable if the angles can be pre-determined along with time. However, if the said method is dependant on mental steps or requires a person to exercise his mind in order to get the right angle to light the cigarette, the process will be hit by the mental steps doctrine, which will preclude patentability.

This process is no different than a method of performing yoga or massaging and is not expressly excluded from patentable subject matter. It may be argued by some people that such an invention does not satisfy industrial applicability requirement, especially with respect to repeatability by a person with ordinary skill, but the art can definitely be mastered with practice. Repeatability is of course not a problem for someone like Rajinikanth, who is a perfectionist.

Any thoughts …?

Authored by: Dr. Kalyan C. Kankanala


  • July 28, 2011 Posted
    Ritesh Jain

    Rajini’s methods are not patentable.

    I say this because:

    method of performing yoga, method of massaging, method of walking on the water are performable (and so there may exist a base for a debate on their patentablity). In other words, I believe the inventor must be able to perform his her invention and there should be no fancy involved.

    Rajanikanth’s methods, on the other hand are nothing but all fancy. In layman’s terms I would like to ask, can he perform those acts in front of the patent examiner (or any examining body when asked to do so)?.

    Also, even if it is assumed that an expert artist can perform them, it is more of art than an invention. Hence, I believe copyrights might be a better protection option for Rajni.

    I hope Indian patent act supports my arguments in the language of law.

  • July 28, 2011 Posted

    I think that these acts lack industrial applicability.

  • July 28, 2011 Posted

    Hey Piyush saying it lacks industrial applicability is wrong.

    His movies are block buster and makes money for himself and Film Industry.

    and thats why he is highest paid actor in film industry….!!!

  • July 28, 2011 Posted

    Rajnikant’s act are non-obvious to any person skilled in any art

  • July 28, 2011 Posted

    I think its worth a shot!!!

    These acts are novel, are definitely non-obvious (duh!)and have industrial applicability in the film industry.

    On a funny note: Will the Indian Patent Office say “NO” to Rajnikant?

  • July 29, 2011 Posted

    Really Guys! The Question whether “Rajnikanth’s methods are patentable” is in itself invalid!

    ALL the Patents In the World are Granted to Rajnikant by default!

    So, When the patent office grants a patent to anybody… It is just that Rajni has laid it open for everybody to use!

    Furthermore, compulsory Licensing is a lighter way of saying ” Rajnikant is Unhappy that you are Misusing his patent!!! So, Pass It On, DuDe!!! “

  • July 29, 2011 Posted
    Ritesh Jain

    Most of his acts are not novel. He is doing them for past 20-30 years.

  • July 29, 2011 Posted

    I think these act are not patentable for following reasons:
    Rajni is doing this since long time and by now it has become a part of public domain and now he cannot patent them.

    Another question is DO they solve any problem? The answer to this is negative one.

    Further what is inventive in these acts? I think every one has seen jugglers or magicians. Don’t they perform such tricks. I agree that not all of them but many of them.

    Thus, I believe that these acts are not patentable though he may apply for copyright just as Big B did for his voice recently

  • July 30, 2011 Posted

    Consider this:
    “A method of making a blockbuster movie” followed by Dr Kalyan’s Claim
    As to address problem solving: A market survey will definitely give a flop:hit ratio.

    Catch: Section 3- Business method.

    Although I think while doing such an analysis we should broadly consider only the three most important criteria. National criteria (Sec 3) filter should come at a later stage.

    Please feel free to correct

  • July 30, 2011 Posted
    Dr. Kalyan

    One clarification about my post. The primary objective of the post was to discuss the scope of patentable subject matter with respect to methods. I started with the assumption that the said method does not form part of prior art and satisfies novelty and non-obviousness requirements. I apologize for not mentioning the same expressly.

    Having said that, I have not been able to find any prior art with respect to the method mentioned in the post. Any leads on the same from any one will throw some light.

    With respect to patentability analysis, the best approach in my belief is to analyze the requirements in the following order: subject matter, industrial applicability, novelty and non-obviousness. This is simply because it is easier to analyze subject matter and industrial applicability, which do not require any search and their analysis does not include extensive factual enquiry. I understand that patent office and courts in India tend to analyze Section 3 after confirming other requirements such as novelty and inventive step but I do not agree with that approach. It does not make sense to do a prior art search for something that is not patentable subject matter in the first place. Any thoughts!!!

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