A person or an entity can safeguard their invention or idea by applying for a patent against the same idea or invention. This gives the applicant a kind of virtual ownership over the invention or the idea for a specified period of time. Although the basic procedure for applying for a patent is not that complicated, there are certain things that an applicant should bear in mind while applying for a patent. In this article we shall take a look at some of the important points that should be taken care of while applying for any patent.
Definition of Patent:
Patent refers to “the exclusive rights granted by a government to an inventor to manufacture, use, or sell an invention for a period of 20 years.”Any person or any entity should be familiar with the literal meaning of the word “PATENT” before they apply for the same. One should be very much clear with the benefits that come after applying for a patent but at the same time should also be pretty much aware about the limitations of the same. It has often been seen that people tend to confuse patents with other Intellectual Properties like copyrights, designs and Geographical Indications.
Why should you apply for a Patent?:
The main benefit of applying for a patent is that it gives the inventor a kind of edge over other competitors who may come up with a similar type of invention in the near future. A patent also prohibits any kind of commercial use of the invention without the consent of the actual owner or inventor. Thus we can rightly assume that a patent gives the owner a kind of monopoly over the invention for a prescribed amount of time.
Understand the prerequisites for applying for a Patent:
Although the procedure for applying for a patent differs from one nation to another, the basic process remains more or less the same. Before applying for a patent, the applicant or the inventor must be in possession of the proper blueprint or prototype of the idea or the invention. A patent cannot be granted on ideas which are incomplete, unclear, unlawful or having similarities with any existing invention. The applicant must make sure he is well aware about the necessary requirements before applying for a patent.
Conduct sufficient research to back the idea:
Research is the soul of any kind of invention. Hence an applicant must perform intense research about the idea or invention before applying for a patent. The applicant must make sure that the idea or the invention is fresh and unique in itself and that it does not have any kind of similarities with any other existing idea or product. If the invention is found to be similar to any other invention then there are chances that the patent might not be granted. The applicant must also make sure that the invention is novel in nature and has proper feasibility.
Be aware of the cost factor:
Money plays a very crucial role in all spheres of business, applying for a patent also requires a good sum of money. Thus an applicant must have a very clear perspective about the costs involved in patenting an invention. The costs related to applying for a patent includes fees like application fee, attorney fee, publication fee, examination fee, etc. The costs vary from country to country and also vary depending upon the type of the application to be filed. For instance filing an international application is much costlier than filing a national application. Thus the applicant must bear in mind the costs that he/she will have to incur while applying for a patent.
Describe the invention in writing:
As we already know that any patent which is incomplete or not well drafted, will not be granted. So the applicant must make sure that he/she has sufficient and specific data to back the idea. There should be a proper description, objects and detailed list of the claims regarding the idea or the invention. There should also be detailed designs and drawings to explain the idea. Thus the applicant needs to do his homework before applying for a patent because if the patent is rejected once, then any other competitor might take advantage and file a similar patent with the necessary requirements. Assistance can be sought from experienced IP firms and Patent Attorneys to enhance the prospects of obtaining a good draft and eventually a grant.
Gather knowledge of the timelines involved in the Patent Process:
The very process of applying for a patent revolves around a number of timelines and deadlines which have to be followed religiously by the applicant. There are certain forms which have to be filed within a particular time frame provided by the patent office of the respective country. For instance, after filing a Provisional Specification in India, the applicant must submit the Complete Specification with detailed drawings and claims within a period of twelve months. Failing to do so will force the patent office to abandon the particular application. Thus the applicant must make sure that he/she has all the necessary information regarding the various timelines that are associated with applying for a patent.
Assess the impact on overall business:
The basic aim of any kind of business activity is to earn profit. Thus when an applicant applies for any patent, he/she should see to it that the idea or the invention is good enough to make a positive impact on the overall business of the individual or organization. As we already know that the process of applying for a patent might be an expensive one and also it might take a good amount of time for the patent to get officially granted. Thus the applicant must make sure that the necessary homework about all permutations and combinations related to the patent is done in advance before the application is filed.
Keep yourself aware of the law:
There are a lot of laws that govern the entire process of applying for a patent. These laws vary from one country to another. At the same time, the laws keep changing within a particular country from time to time. Thus it is very crucial on the part of the applicant to be well equipped with the necessary information about the various laws related to the process. If the applicant is not well informed and not updated with the latest laws, then there are possibilities that they might commit some mistakes while applying for the patent which might prove costly to them. Instances such as these are when an applicant is suggested to seek assistance form Patent Attorneys and IP firms.
Do not hesitate to seek professional assistance:
Inventors or applicants cannot be expected to know everything about Law nor can be they expected to keep a track of all the formalities and deadlines associated with filing for a patent. For such reasons, there are Patent professionals whose job would be to help you and guide you when seeking to apply for a patent. These Patent agents or attorneys will help you in maximizing your chances of obtaining a Patent. Never hesitate in contacting an IP firm or professional for assistance in filing a Patent.
The above mentioned points are some general things that the applicants should bear in mind when they are looking to apply for a patent.
Authored by Aniruddha Doss
Contributed with the support of Patent Portfolio Division at BananaIP Counsels
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