What is a Patent?

A patent is a legal document that is granted to an inventor by the patent office in order to protect the subject matter seeking protection. Simply put, a patent is an exclusive right conferred by the Government on an inventor, to prevent others exploiting the patent without his permission. Essentially, a patent is granted for an invention.

However, a patent will be granted only if it satisfies the conditions of patentability. These conditions of patentability are universal with slight differences in their way of interpretation.

Novelty: In order to obtain a patent for an invention, the inventor is required to make sure that the invention consists of one or more elements that are new, failing which, the invention will not qualify for patenting.

Non-obviousness: Along with novelty, the invention is required to be non-obvious. As in, any person possessing skills in the particular field of invention must not find the invention to be easy and obvious.

Industrial Application: Process/embodiments of an invention must have a commercial market failing which they will be termed as utility models. If the novel and non-obvious invention has some industrial application, the invention qualifies to be patented and thereby satisfies the conditions of patentability.

It is important to remember that patent protection is available for any product, process or design for a limited period of 20 years after which the global audience can use the invention without permission and infringement of the patent. This is called the system of Quid Pro Quo and is fundamental to the patent system.