What is a patent?

Patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention. It is a form of Intellectual Property. The invention could be a product or process that provides a new way of doing something. It is granted by a sovereign state to an inventor. Patents are granted to inventions: that are of practical use and have new characteristic not existing till date. Patents provide incentives to individuals by recognizing their creativity. Patent acts as a sales brochure and is more than a legal document.

Q. Do you want to patent your innovation?
Here are some tips from Kuza Biashara, on how to patent:

Filing a Patent
  • The first step is to file a patent application
  • Write about the invention, its background and technical field
  • The description can be accompanied by visuals, drawings, plan or diagrams, etc
  • Patents are granted by national patent offices or by regional patent offices

The background information provided by the applicant, can be used for research and as inspiration for future generations.

Remember: Check the details and requirements set by the patent offices. Each office has specifications such as: font, layout, paper size, etc.

Time limit

It is given for a period of 20 years. After 20 years, the inventor should renew his patent for protection of his invention. If the patent is not renewed, the innovation is open to use. The owners cannot sue others using the innovation. After the patent expires, the owner has no right to stop a person from making, using or selling the idea/ innovation. Patents encourage innovations, thus enhancing the quality of human life.

Who can use

No person can try to use the invention without the consent of the owner or the inventor. No invention can be commercially made, used, distributed or sold without the patent owners permission. Only, the patent right vests only with the owner to decide who may or may not use their invention for the period it is protected.

What cannot be patented

An innovation, which exists in any corner of the world cannot be patented. One cannot use an idea invented in Sri Lanka and patent it in Russia. Permission is denied, if the patent officers find the innovation to be existing. Not all innovations can be patented. An innovation has to be industrially applicable, non – obvious and not – known.

Patent Rights

Patent rights are usually enforced in courts. But, a court can also declare a patent invalid, upon a successful challenge by a third party. Owners, can also sell their invention rights to someone else, who then becomes the new owner of the patent.

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