When inventors come up with a new device, the first thing they want to do is patent it. Patents are enforceable rights in a particular jurisdiction given to an inventor to exclude others from using, making or selling their invention. For a certain period of time, patent-holders are allowed to control how their inventions are used, allowing them to reap the financial rewards of their work. Patents are a palpable, legally-binding manifestation of a person's genius and innovation; they allow a person to actually own an INVENTION.
Though, not all inventions can attain exclusive legal right. Three basic criteria in the international community approved by TRIPS agreement governing patents are: novelty, usefulness, inventive step (non-obviousness). This means invention has to be novel or in other terms, never published or used before. It has to have a usefulness which generally many inventions have. The third one is tricky as it has to have an inventive step or in other words not obvious to a person skilled in the art. For example, you can't patent the concept of making a toaster that can handle more pieces of bread at once, because that is only taking an existing invention and making it bigger. For an invention to be patented, it must be innovative to the point that it wouldn't be obvious to others.
In patent law, the term "invention" is defined loosely so that it can encompass a wide variety of objects. Obviously, if patents have to apply to things that don't exist yet, then the legal language must be fairly vague. In addition to standard technological machines and machine advancements, you can also patent certain computer programs, industrial processes and unique designs (such as tire or shoe-tread patterns). While none of the elements in these creations are new, the inventor may have combined them in a unique and innovative way. In the language of patent law, this constitutes an invention.
One can obtain a patent by filing a patent application in a prescribed format in any one of the four patent offices in India. Patent application will result in defining your rights over the invention and how broadly you have protected your invention. Even simple words in patent application can change your right over the scope of invention drastically. Patent attorneys or patent agents are the best people to write and draft your application. Filing an invention in India will give you a right only in India as patent right is jurisdictional in nature. One has to file patent applications in other countries wherever he/she feels the invention needs to be protected.
For further details, visit following sites:
- Indian Patent Office - http://patinfo.nic.in/
- WIPO: International Patent Applications - http://www.wipo.int/pct/en/
- Google Patent Search – http://www.google.com/patents
- Resource on Patents worldwide - http://www.wipo.int/sme/en/