Can an invention be granted an exclusive right? Is the invention a product, process, a new unique way of doing something or a technical solution? A patent secures exclusive rights to the above and offers legal protection to the owner against commercial exploitation. Here the exclusive rights are legally fenced so that the same invention cannot be reproduced, distributed, imported or sold unless the patent owner legally consents to the same. In order to get a patent the exclusive invention must get public visibility in a patent application. A patent application is filed and the patent is granted in accordance with the law of a country or region.
The duration of legal protection provided by a patent is generally 20 years from the date of filing. Today the list of inventions include various fields of technology, everyday culinary appliances, chemicals, compounds, micro and nanotechnology chips or interconnected inventions working complimentarily; each one entitled to reside in the legal fence of patented protection.
Patent rights can be enforced only if the owner of the patent is willing to take the necessary legal initiative. An intellectual property lawyer can give a clear picture to the patent owner regarding monitoring and identifying his own rights. Taking legal action against infringement of patent is the responsibility of the patent owner. A patent that has been licensed by an owner does not account to infringement. In some cases a patent owner grants rights to an organization to produce or market their patented product within a particular territory for a certain time period. This is legally termed as licensing a Patent. This opens out the possibilities of receiving royalty or benefitting from another stream of income to the patent owner. Selling or transferring a patent transfers the right of ownership completely from the owner to the buyer but licensing ensures that the owner still retains property rights of the patented invention.
A good Intellectual Property lawyer must be well versed with defensive publication in order to procure its place in public domain. A patent lawyer with the knowledge of application, protection, licensing, transfer, settlement of disputes, alternative dispute resolution and the role of WIPO in patents can provide a complete picture to the patent owners. In India the cost of patent is determined by government fees for forms, requests, renewals, patent agent charges and varying Government fees. Like any law the law governing patents has all been modified. Thus an IP lawyer can become a legal guide for advise and time saving by guiding the patent owner step by step in the right direction and also creating a response to objections if raised in the examination report. Further renewal of fees, can be done keeping in mind the long term benefit of the Patent owner. Today patent norms in India have been simplified and definitive time frames have been prescribed for various activities. Patent amendment rules now require application to be referred to examiner within a month of request for examination and the decision by the controller has to be taken within a month of submission.
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