What is a Patent?

A Patent is a statutory right for an invention granted for a limited period of time to the patentee by the Government, in exchange of full disclosure of his invention for excluding others, from making, using, selling, importing the patented product or process for producing that product for those purposes without his consent.

Does a territorial Patent give protection worldwide?

Patent protection is territorial right and therefore it is effective only within a particular territory. However, filing an application in a country enables the applicant to file a corresponding application for same invention in convention countries, within or before expiry of twelve months from the first filing date, or in PCT countries within 30 or 31 months from date of first filing . Therefore, separate patents should be obtained in each country where the applicant requires protection of his invention in those countries.

What can be patented?

An invention relating either to a product or process that is new, involving inventive step and capable of industrial application can be patented.

Who can apply for a patent?

A patent application can be filed either by true and first inventor or his assignee, either alone or jointly with any other person. In some countries, legal representative of any deceased person can also make an application for patent.

What are the criteria of patentability?

An invention to become patentable subject matter must meet the following criteria:
i. It should be novel.
ii. It should have inventive step or it must be non-obvious
iii. It should be capable of Industrial application.
iv. It should fall under patentable subject matter of a country

Should application for patent be filed before or after, publication of the details of the invention?

The application for patent should be filed before the publication of the invention and till then it should not be disclosed or published. Disclosure of invention by publication before filing of the patent application may be detrimental to novelty of the invention as it may no longer be considered novel due to such publication. However, under certain conditions, there is grace period of 12 months for filing application even after publication.

Does the Patent Office Keep information of the invention Secret?

Yes. All the patent applications are kept secret upto 18 months from the date of filing or priority date whichever is earlier and thereafter they are published.

Is patent application once filed is examined automatically?

The patent application is not examined automatically after its filing in many countries. Many require an express request for examination to be made to the patent office before an application is examined.

What is the term of patent?

Term of every patent in Convention or PCT countries is 20 years from the date of filing of patent application, irrespective of whether it is filed with provisional or complete specification. However, in case of applications filed under PCT the term of 20 years generally begins from International filing date.

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a sign that is capable of distinguishing the goods and services of one entity from others.

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What are the functions of trade marks?

To enable consumers to identify product or services of one company from the rest.
It associate certain quality or features in the products/services with the brand owner.

What are the advantages of having a trademark registration?

It gives your company the exclusive rights to use a trademark in relation to the designated goods/services.
A certificate of registration serves as a prima facie evidence of legal ownership in court proceedings or infringement claim.

What types of trade mark that is not registrable?

Trademarks that are deceptive,
Trademarks that describe value, quantity, quality, or intended purpose of the goods or services;
Contrary to public order or morality;
Consist of armorial bearings, flags and other emblems or official signs of States or international intergovernmental organizations; or
Infringe rights acquired by third parties in the country or in some case well-known trademark overseas.

Is it necessary to conduct a trademark search?

Yes, it is necessary. However, it is not compulsory. Trademark search saves you money and time before you proceed with the application process only to find out that your application is being objected due to a prior identical or similar trademark.

What is the difference between TM, SM and “R”?

“TM” refers to an unregistered/pending trademark used in relation to a goods/products.
“SM” refers to services that is being rendered under the mark.
“®” is a symbol that can only be used once a trademark has been registered.

How long is a trademark valid after the registration?

A trade mark registration is valid for ten (10) years from the date of application and may be renewed every ten years.

What is an industrial design?

An industrial design constitutes the ornamental or aesthetic aspect of an article. A design may consist of three-dimensional features, such as the shape or surface of an article, or of two-dimensional features, such as patterns, lines or color.

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What are the types of products that can be registered as Industrial Design?

Industrial designs are applied to a wide variety of products of industry and handicraft: from technical and medical instruments to watches, jewelry, and other luxury items; from housewares and electrical appliances to vehicles and architectural structures; and from textile to leisure goods.

When should one file for registration?

You should register your design at the earliest opportunity as the design registration system in most countries operates on a first-to-file basis. This means that the first person to file an application will, in general, have priority over others. Further prior disclosure will destroy the novelty of the design. So extreme care should be exercised to ensure secrecy of the design.

Why should you register?

A registered industrial design confers the owner of a registered design the exclusive right to make, import or sell or license to a third party for commercial returns or outright sale of the design. Other users should obtain the consent of the rightful owner before using the design.

What cannot be registered?

i. a method or principle of construction;
ii. designs are contrary to public order or morality;
iii. articles concern exclusively with how an article functions;
iv. designs of articles that are integral parts of other articles and whose features are dependent upon the appearance of other article.

How long is the period of protection?

Protection period varies in most countries. Generally, upon registration a registered Design is valid for 5 years and subject to renewal thereafter. The renewal period could vary between 15 to 20 years depending on the country.