Intellectual Property Rights in India

Patents in India


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: KAPILA scheme

Mains level: IPR regime

patent systemContext

  • Increasing the efficiency of processing patent applications and wider academia-industry collaboration are crucial steps for patent system.

What is patent system?

  • A patent system is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention for a limited period of time in exchange for publishing an enabling disclosure of the invention.

Why are patents important?

  • A patent is important because it can help safeguard our invention. It can protect any product, design or process that meets certain specifications according to its originality, practicality, suitability, and utility. In most cases, a patent can protect an invention for up to 20 years.

patent systemHow to get patent?

  • To get a patent, technical information about the invention must be disclosed to the public in a patent application.
  • The patent owner may give permission to, or license, other parties to use the invention on mutually agreed terms.
  • The owner may also sell the right to the invention to someone else, who will then become the new owner of the patent.
  • Once a patent expires, the protection ends, and an invention enters the public domain; that is, anyone can commercially exploit the invention without infringing the patent.

Terms of Patent

  • Patents may be granted for inventions in any field of technology, from an everyday kitchen utensil to a nanotechnology chip.
  • An invention can be a product – such as a chemical compound, or a process, for example – or a process for producing a specific chemical compound.
  • Patent protection is granted for a limited period, generally 20 years from the filing date of the application.
  • Patents are territorial rights. In general, the exclusive rights are only applicable in the country or region in which a patent has been filed and granted, in accordance with the law of that country or region.

patent systemHow patents can support inventors and improve lives

  • Recognize and reward: Patents recognize and reward inventors for their commercially-successful inventions. As such they serve as an incentive for inventors to invent. With a patent, an inventor or small business knows there is a good chance that they will get a return on the time, effort and money they invested in developing a technology. In sum, it means they can earn a living from their work.
  • Economic opportunity: When a new technology comes onto the market, society as a whole stands to benefit – both directly, because it may enable us to do something that was previously not possible, and indirectly in terms of the economic opportunities (business development and employment) that can flow from it.
  • Research and development (R&D): The revenues generated from commercially successful patent-protected technologies make it possible to finance further technological research and development (R&D), thereby improving the chances of even better technology becoming available in the future.
  • Opportunities for business growth: A patent effectively turns an inventor’s know-how into a commercially tradeable asset, opening up opportunities for business growth and job creation through licensing and joint ventures, for example.
  • Commercialization of a technology: Holding a patent also makes a small business more attractive to investors who play a key role in enabling the commercialization of a technology.
  • Spark new ideas: The technical information and business intelligence generated by the patenting process can spark new ideas and promote new inventions from which we can all benefit and which may, in turn, qualify for patent protection.
  • No freebies: A patent can help stop unscrupulous third parties from free riding on the efforts of the inventor.

What is KAPILA Initiative?

  • Full form: KAPILA is an acronym for Kalam Program for IP (Intellectual Property) Literacy and Awareness.
  • Guidelines for patent Filing: Under this campaign, students pursuing education in higher educational institutions will get information about the correct system of the application process for patenting their invention and they will be aware of their rights.
  • Encouragement to students: The program will facilitate the colleges and institutions to encourage more and more students to file patents.

Thing to remember

Remember one thing, ‘KAPILA’ Program is related to IP awareness. It sounds much like an animal husbandry related initiative.

Way ahead

  • As the patent system is a critical aspect of the national innovation ecosystem, investing in the patent ecosystem will help in strengthening the innovation capability of India.
  • The right interventions should be made for the promotion of the quality of patent applications and collaboration between academia and industry.

Mains question

Q. A patent can help stop unscrupulous third parties from free riding on the efforts of the inventor. Discuss this statement in context of protection of innovative ecosystem in India.


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