Laws of the intellectual Land: Patents for Dummies

This is my first piece in my blog on, my experiences, my thoughts, and various aspects of entrepreneurship. The first and foremost thing for an entrepreneur is the drive, then comes the idea. I will talk on drive some time later, the area of idea is very vast. What I am going to discuss now is on how to protect your idea. Again this is a science of its own. To be specific I will put here my recent brush with the "Holy Cow", Patent. It may sound far fetched for an entrepreneur to start thinking about patents, but if you are into developing a product you should be a part of the Patent game.

I got to meet this very enthusiastic person who as a good knowledge of patent process and stuff like that owing to his vocation. It was over a three hour discussion where I got to know a bit of what all this ***** about patents is. Before this meeting the idea of patent I had is, a right given by the government of a country to the inventor of a product or process in order to protect his rights to sell it in that region without worrying about others for a specified period of time.
For a more detailed simple explanation please go to Patent on wikipedia.

If only life were as simple as the first definition sighted above. In a world that was 500 years back, it may not have been so complicated as the markets were mostly limited to a small region. In contrast today's world the concept originates in one place, it gets executed in another place and the final customer who consumes it is in a completely different world. In many cases the final customer doesn't have an iota of an idea regarding the origins of the object of consumption.

Enough of taking you around, coming to the topic at hand, I present a few snippets our discussion here.

1) There are two main purposes for a patent.
i) It looks great on my CV. (A patent filed by an individual).
ii) A company wants to protect a technology, so that it can commercialize it and earn money.

2) In the Indian context, it was not possible to patent products until 2000 (initially), and then till 2005.
i) Any patents filed abroad between 2003 and 2005 were put in a black box. These stuff were opened after 2005 and is considered for patent.(Considering it is already field in other countries).

3) One cannot have exclusive rights over a product in a country, unless that country grants the patent. (If you have an US patent only, I can happily make and sell the product all over the world, without paying you a dime)

4)There is nothing called free lunch. Every thing related to patent comes at a price.

5) If you want to have patents in all the countries, check with your bankers. Now, I am not talking about big brothers (IBM 2941 in 2005).

6) Patents need not be filed for commercialisation, companies use it prevent other companies from getting into a particular territory. (I cannot eat the cake, no else should).

7) Don't be in awe of a company by the number of patents it has, most of them are for the above purpose.

8) If you plan to get a patent in a lot countries, file it with PCT. (What ever it is?)

9) If you want to infringe a Patent,hire a good patent attorney. (Don't confuse patent attorney with a lawyer)

10) A corollary to the above, if you want to file a patent, hire a good patent attorney.

11) Companies don't file one patent, they usually file a bunch of patents to protect the product. A lot of social and cultural issues come over here. In a study, it was found that in US if there is one patent filed for a product, thirteen patents would be filed by the Japanese in the case a similar product.

12) If you can prove that a patent had prior art, then that patent can be nullified. The person who takes this to the patent office gets a monopoly on the product for a specified time.(Want to make some money!!)

13) If a product was awarded a patent anywhere in the world before 2005, and it was not put in the black box of Indian patent office. That's an opportunity!!!

14) Companies can go bankrupt on patent issues. (We know Copyright issues ala Napster).

15) At the end of the day, people who make lot of money apart from a few inventors are lawyers.

Now I have touched on some of the things that are nice to know. If you are interested you must probably google(when I say google, I am using it as a verb). And that doesn't satisfy your curiosity, then try to get yourself enrolled in a course conducted by patent offices. Now if your mind is still inflicting sleepless nights, become a patent examiner(remember Einstein was one) or better become a patent attorney(and do consulting). Finally, If you have any more information regarding patents please feel free to inform me.


All the views above are my personal opinion. I am not responsible for any kind of unlawful/lawful usage of the above material. All the statistics mentioned above though true to my knowledge, I don't guarantee their veracity. Finally if you have any problem with what I published, that is your problem, please don't waste your time cursing me.


blogit said...

Chanced upon your blog somehow..:) The one on patents was pretty well written. Having gone thru your blog was curious if you started your company already or in the making of it :)?