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Patent can be defined as an agreement between the inventor and the government. It is a monopoly right to exclude others from making, selling, offering to sell, licensing and wrongfully using any of the rights given to the patent owner. Patent protection is granted to a product or a process. Patents are protected by a national government therefore, it is territorial in nature. Patent rights are enforceable only to a country where it is protected.
There is no patent called as world patent which is enforceable in all countries. The time period of protection for a patent is varied in different countries but usually it is 20 years from the date of filing of the patent. Patents are not granted to enjoy the monopoly rights by an inventor/applicant but to enable the patent invention to benefit the public and add more value in the research and development field. The patent law governing the patent system is different from one country to another, therefore the time period in which a patent is granted from the date of filing a patent application in the patent office is also different in country to country.
Patent protection in India
In India, the patent protection is granted for both product and process after 2005. Prior to 2005, only process patents are granted in India. The Patent act (amended) 2005, governing the patent system in India also inserted important acts like section 3 (d) which prevents the ever greening of the patents in India. The patent protection in India is for a limited period of time, i.e. 20 years from the date of filing of the priority application. The amended Patent act in 2005 brought the following changes to the existing Patent Laws:
- Both product and process patents
- Term of the patent- 20 years
- Examination on request
- Both pre-grant and post-grant opposition
- Fast track mechanism for disposal of appeals
- Provision for protection of bio-diversity and traditional knowledge.
- Publication of applications after 18 months with facility for early publication
- Substantially reduced time-lines.
- Compulsory licensing
- Bolar provision for early manufacture of generics
- Parallel, import to check prices.
- Provision to deal with public health emergency.
- Revocation of patent in public interest and also on security considerations.
- Provisions to prevent grant of patents based on frivolous or trivial inventions.
- Provisions to prevent misappropriation of Genetic Resources and Traditional Knowledge.
The amendment of the Patents Act in 2005 made the Indian Patent Act to become part of the Global Patent Regime and enables to meet international obligations. It also safeguards the rights of patent holders as also protect public interest.