Frequently Asked Questions

PATENT

What is an invention?

Inventions are related to Patents. Invention means a solution to a specific problem in the field of technology. An invention may relate to a product or process. Invention is a new and useful article or an improvement of an existing article, or a new process of making an article.

Why an invention should be protected?

The object of granting a Patent to protect an invention is to encourage and develop new technology and industry. Precisely, Patent is an instrument to guarantee protection of rights of Patent holder to use the invention to his advantage.

Considerable amount of Time, Effort and Money is spent in the research and development to create an invention. In order to recuperate the expenses incurred in the creation of a new invention by either a natural person or legal person, the exclusive rights are given to the Patentee for a limited period of time (20 years) to exploit the same commercially to his advantage.

The object behind Patent Law is to encourage scientific research, new technology and progress. Grant of exclusive privilege to own, use or sell the method or the product patented for a 20 years period simulates new investments of commercial activity.

Price of the grant of monopoly is the disclosure of the invention at the Patent Office, which after the expiry of the 20 years period of the monopoly passes into the public domain.

What is Patent?

A Patent is “an Intellectual Property Right relating to inventions and is the grant of exclusive right, for limited period of 20 years, provided by the Government to the Patentee, in exchange of full disclosure of his invention, for excluding others, from making, using, selling, importing, the patented product or process producing that product for those purposes.”

Patent is a document, issued upon application, by Patent office in India which describes an invention and creates a legal situation in which the patented invention can normally only be exploited with the authorization of the owner of the Patent.

What are Patent Rights?

‘Patent’ is an exclusive right granted in respect of an invention, which may be product or process that provides a new and inventive way of doing something or offers a new and inventive technical solution to a problem.

The Patent is a territorial right. The Patent is granted by respective countries for enforcement in their nation.
Patent is granted for a period of 20 years and after this expiry period of 20 years, the invention passes into the public domain.

How long it takes to get a Patent in Indian Patent Office?

It takes anywhere between 4 to 6 years to obtain a Patent in India. However, with the Start-up ecosystem which has brought in expedited examination of Patent Applications, one can even expect a grant of Patent in 2 years’ period from the priority date. Granted Patents are required to be maintained by paying annual renewal fees.

What is the procedure to obtain Patent?

An application for a patent for an invention may be made by the true and first inventor of the invention and/or assignee of the true and first inventor. The applicant can file any of the following applications at the Patent Office:

  • Ordinary Application
  • PCT International Phase Application
  • PCT National Phase Application
  • Convention Application
  • Divisional Application
  • Application for Patent Addition

What are the essential conditions to be fulfilled for grant of a Patent?

The subject matter of Patent application must be eligible for patent protection as per the Patent Act 1970.

The invention must be new or novel and never have been made public in any way, anywhere, before the date on which the application for a patent is filed.

The invention must not involve a step which is obvious to a person with good knowledge and experience of the subject of the invention.

An invention must be capable of being made or used in some kind of industrial application or utility value.

What are not Patentable inventions?

Section 3 of the Patent Act provides an exhaustive list of subject-matter which cannot be considered as inventions under the act. Section 4 of the Act prohibits grant of patent for inventions related to atomic energy. Section 35 of the Act prohibits inventions relevant for defence purposes under secrecy directions by the Controller.

TRADEMARK

What is a Trademark?

Trademark is popularly known as Brand Name in a layman’s language.

It is a visual symbol which may be a word signature, name, device, label, numerals or combination of colours used by one undertaking on goods or services or other articles of commerce to distinguish it from other similar goods or services originating from a different undertaking.

Examples of Trademarks are Tata, Reliance, Airtel, Coco-Cola, Pepsi, Wipro, Dell etc.,

What are the functions of Trademark?

Trademark identifies the goods/or services and its origin. TM guarantees its unchanged quality. TM advertises the goods/services and creates an image, goodwill and reputation for the goods/services.

A trademark is needed to define ownership for products or services. People need to associate goods with a specific company.

A trademark makes that possible. It is like an identity for a company that bridges the gap between the public and the company. The importance of a trademark for business in the current economy assumes greater significance.

What other types of marks can be registered?

Besides Trademark, Service Mark can be registered that are used in sale or advertising of services. Swiggy is a Service Mark for food delivery services. Certification marks like AGMARK for agricultural products, FPO certification mark for processed Fruits. The BIS Hallmark Certification for Gold gives assurance to the buyers on the quality of Gold they purchase. There are also associations of manufacturers of products and services which can obtain a collective mark that can used by the members.

How long it takes to get a Trademark registered in India?

Although rights in Trademark is established by usage in India and does not require a registration, it is always better to get a Trademark registered if you are intending to use it to build your brand on it. Registration provides a better legal standing for the trademark owner. It normally takes about 2 years for obtaining a Trademark in India.

The Trademark office is expediting the registrations presently and the time taken could be shorter if there are no objections or oppositions. A registered trademark is valid for 10 years and requires renewal after expiry of the validity.

INDUSTRIAL DESIGNS

What is the meaning of Industrial Design?

“Design” means only the features of shape, configuration, pattern, ornament or composition of lines or colours applied to any article whether in two dimensional or three dimensional or in both forms.

This design or shape is made by any industrial process or means, whether manual, mechanical or chemical, separate or combined, which in the finished article appeal to and are judged solely by the eye.

In Gorbatschow Wodka KG Vs. John Distilleries Ltd – Shape of the bottle in which Vodka is sold was the issue. The manufacturer established that he has a reputation and goodwill in the distinctive appearance of the article itself which would furnish a cause of action in passing off.

What is not an industrial design?

Design does not include any mode of principle of construction or anything which is in substance a mere mechanical device and does not include any trade mark or any artistic work under Copyright.

COPYRIGHT

What is Copyright?

Copyright is a kind of intellectual property that protects creative works. It is a bundle of rights given to the creators of literary, artistic, dramatic and musical works and the producers of cinematograph films and sound recordings.

A copyright is referred to as a bundle of rights because it endows on the creator a number of rights. These rights are exclusive only to the creator of the work.

What is the meaning of Artistic and Literary works and related rights?

Artistic work relates to copyright to artistic creations such as Poems, Novels, Music, Painting, Sculpture, Cinematographic films and Computer Software.

Related Rights includes rights of performers, producers of sound recordings and broadcasting Organizations.

Literary work means Author’s Rights. Protecting and rewarding creativity and to maintain a balance between the interest of the creator and the community is the main objective.

What is the validity period of Copyright?

Copyright is valid for a period of 60 years. Although there is no formal requirement of registration to get a Copyright, official registration makes it easy for the author/artist to prove that he / she are the creator of a work.

What is the procedure to register a Copyright?

A copyright can be registered by manual filing or e-filing. The author/artist needs to submit an Application form along with the prescribed fees. The Statement of Particulars and the Statement of Further Particulars must be duly filled in and sent in triplicate.

After filing for a copyright, the Applicant must wait for a mandatory period of one month for any objections that might be filed before the Copyright office about the ownership of the work. If objections are filed the Applicant must wait for a further period of one month for the Copyright office to determine the registrability of the work, after giving a hearing to both the parties involved.

Further, the Application is set for examination. If any discrepancy is found a further period of one month is given to the Applicant to rectify the discrepancy. Then, the copyright will be registered in the name of the applicant.

SEMICONDUCTOR INTEGRATED CIRCUITS LAYOUT DESIGN

What is the meaning of the Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout Design Act 2000?

The Act protects a mask work fixed in a semiconductor chip product, by the authority of the owner of the mask work.

A “mask work” is a series of related images fixed or encoded having predetermined, three-dimensional pattern of metallic, insulating, or semiconductor material present or removed from the layers of a semiconductor chip product. The act does not protect designs that are not original, staple, commonplace, or familiar in the semi-conductor industry.

ISRO and BEL are the Companies from India who have registered their layout designs (Mask Work) and obtained certificate under the provisions of this Act.

GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATIONS

What is the meaning of Geographical Indications?

The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 (GIGA) provides for the registration and better protection of geographical indications relating to goods.
Goods include any agricultural, natural or manufactured goods or any goods of handicraft or of industry including foodstuff.

As the name indicates, GI is a sign used on goods that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities, a reputation or characteristics that are essentially attributable to that place of Origin. GI belongs to a particular area or a group or community compared to Trade Mark which belongs to an individual.

Examples – Scotch, Tequila, Cognac, Champagne, Vodka etc.,

Indian Examples – Mysore Silk, Kanchipuram Silk Sarees, Kolkata Seagulls, Mahabalipuram Stone Sculptures, Aranmula Mirror of Kerala, Kolkata Rasgulla, Tirupati Laddu, Madurai Malli, Banarasi Saree etc.,

TRADE SECRETS

What are Trade Secrets?

Trade Secrets include the business methods or processes of an organization, customer data, financial information, market potential, test data, software, Intellectual Property including proprietary and confidential information, secret recipes and formulas etc., All these Trade Secrets are protected by means of an effective Non-Disclosure agreement when entering in to commercial contracts with third parties. Maintaining Trade Secrets is the bare necessity for modern business entities.