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FAQ

A Step Towards The Patent World
Bayslope > FAQ

Do you need help with patents?

 

About Bayslope

1. What services can you help me with?

We can help you with various patent related matters such as patent drafting, searching, or any other solutions in the patent domain. We also offer consultancy-based services.

2. How can you help inventors?

We can help you by filing your patent ideas as well as drafting applications.

3. How can you help a product-based company?

We can help you during the various stages of a patent value chain, be it drafting, portfolio analysis, renewal analysis, or reports on technology. We can also develop disclosure forms, and do inventors’ interview.

4. How can you help a law firm?

We can collaborate with you for patent drafting assignments for your end clients in order to reduce your work and timelines.

5. How can you help an individual or a start-up company in India?

We can help you understand what IP is all about, why it is important and if you need any form of IP for your start-up.

6. How can you help non-product companies, IP companies, or others?

We can collaborate with you on project basis.

About IP

1. What is IP and what comes under its purview?

IP refers to Intellectual Property. IP includes - Patents (inventions), Trademarks, Trade Secrets, Copyrights (music, books, poems, paintings, photography or other kinds of creative work), Industrial Designs, Domain Names, Geographical Indications, Plant Variety Rights, and Logos.

2. What is a patent?

A patent is a techno-legal document which describes an invention. Example of inventions: band- aid, electric iron, safety pin, ball point pen, telephone, etc.

3. What is the need to know about IP?

To explore what could be your possible IP, and to ensure that you are not infringing upon others’ IP.

4. Can an idea be patented?

Yes, an idea can be patented if it solves a particular problem, has an industrial use, and is not obvious.

5. How can we get a patent?

Before applying for a patent, assess features of your idea to ascertain if something similar already exists or not.

6. Can we have more than one patent?

Yes, you can have more than one patent.

7. What does “patent pending” mean?

This means that you have applied for a patent with a specific patent office and it is under examination. The phrase “patent pending” gives you benefits while presenting your product to investors and assures that your vision is clearly understood by the larger audience. This also helps you better market your product. While this does not provide any concrete protection, it can be a useful piece of evidence if someone attempts to steal your invention during your initial marketing attempts.

8. Is there a need to file a patent in India?

Yes, if you are working in India, it is recommended to file a patent in India. In addition, the patent can be filed in other countries as well.

9. Any IPR initiatives by Indian Government?

Yes, an initiative has been started by Indian Government, where fee concessions are given to start-ups when filing patents. This is being done to promote the IP culture in India.

10. Why consider IPR?

To gain protection over your idea and exclude others to protect the same.

11. What is the relation between start-ups and patents?

IP plays an important role in facilitating the process of taking innovative technology to the market place. Hence, it is important for start-ups to know what patents are all about. We do not suggest applying for a patent immediately, but we do believe in enhancing awareness about IP so that they stay informed, and can take right decisions at later stages.

12. What kinds of inventions are protected?

Any invention that satisfies the following criteria: 1.Is it new or novel, that is, it must show some new characteristic which is not known in the body of existing knowledge (called “prior art”) in its technical field. 2.Is it non-obvious or involves an inventive step, that is, it could not be deduced by a person with average knowledge in the technical field. 3.Is it useful or capable of industrial application?

13. How to protect your inventions?

By obtaining a patent from a patent office. A patent can be granted by the patent office of the country in which you wish to protect your invention. - Another way of obtaining protection is to keep the technology secret, and to rely on what is referred to as trade secrets. Trade secrets protection allows the preservation of the confidential nature of information from being unduly revealed and used by unauthorized people.

14. What rights does a patent provide?

The owner of a patent may, in principle, exclude others in the territory covered by the patent from making, using, offering for sale, importing or selling the invention without his or her consent. Furthermore, the patent owner may give permission to, or license, other parties to use the invention on mutually agreed terms. The owner may also sell the right to the invention to someone else, who will then become the new owner of the patent.

15. How extensive is patent protection?

A patent is, in general, granted by a national patent office. The effects of such a grant are limited to the country concerned.

16. Why protect inventions through patents?

1. Added competitive advantage. 2. Increased stream of revenue (sale, licensing). 3. IP provides a strong negotiating position in the process of getting into partnerships or investments. 4. The Policy aims to push IPRs as a marketable financial asset, promote innovation and entrepreneurship, while protecting public interest.

17. How long does patent protection last?

Patent protection is granted for a limited period, generally 20 years from the effective filing date of the application.

18. Is it possible to extend the term of patent protection?

In some countries, patent protection may be extended beyond 20 years or a Supplementary Protection Certificate (SPC) may be issued in some specific cases. The extension aims to compensate for the time lapsed in the administrative approval procedure before products can be sold in the market. The time taken for this procedure means that the patent owner may sometimes not be able to benefit from his right for a considerable period of time after the grant of the patent.

19. Is a patent valid in every country?

Patents are territorial rights. In general, the exclusive rights are only applicable in the country or region in which a patent has been filed and granted, in accordance with the law of that country or region.

20. How are patent rights enforced?

Patent rights are usually enforced in a court on the initiative of the right owner. In most systems, a court of law has the authority to stop patent infringement. However the main responsibility for monitoring, identifying, and taking action against infringers of a patent lies with the patent owner.

21. What does it mean to “license a patent” and why is it done?

Licensing a patent simply means that the patent owner grants permission to another individual/organization to make, use, sell etc. his/her patented invention. This takes place according to agreed terms and conditions (for example, defining the amount and type of payment to be made by the licensee to the licensor), for a defined purpose, in a defined territory, and for an agreed period of time. - A patent owner may grant a license to a third party for many reasons. For example, the patent owner may not have the necessary manufacturing facilities, and therefore opts to allow others to make and sell his/her patented invention in return for “royalty” payments. Alternatively, a patent owner may have manufacturing facilities, but they may not be large enough to cater to the market demand. In this case, he/she may be interested in licensing the patent to another manufacturer in order to benefit from another income stream. Another possible situation is one in which the patent owner wishes to concentrate on one geographic market; and therefore the patent owner may choose to grant a license to another individual/organization, with interests in other geographical markets. Entering into a licensing agreement can help in building a mutually-beneficial business relationship. Unlike selling or transferring a patent to another party, the licensor continues to have property rights over the patented invention.

22. Why are patents useful (to society, business, individuals etc.)?

Patented inventions have pervaded every aspect of human life, from electric lighting (patents held by Edison and Swan) and plastic (patents held by Baekeland), to ballpoint pens (patents held by Biro), and microprocessors (patents held by Intel, for example). Patents provide incentives to and protection for individuals by offering them recognition for their creativity and the possibility of material reward for their inventions. At the same time, the obligatory publication of patents and patent applications facilitates the mutually-beneficial spread of new knowledge and accelerates innovation by, for example, avoiding the necessity to “re-invent the wheel”.

23. Who grants patents?

A patent is granted by a national patent office or by a regional office that carries out the task for a number of countries. Few examples are US Patent Office, Japan Patent Office (JPO) and Indian Patent Office (IPO).

24. Do I need a patent attorney/agent to prepare and file a patent application?

In general, applicants can prepare their patent applications and file them without assistance from a patent attorney. However, given the complexity of patent documents and the legal skills required, such as claim drafting, it is highly advisable to seek legal assistance from a patent expert or a patent attorney/agent when drafting a patent application.

25. How can patents be obtained worldwide?

At present, you cannot obtain a universal “world patent” or “international patent”. Patents are territorial rights but one can apply for a patent in a number of countries through an application with WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization).

26. Can I obtain a patent for a software-related invention?

Possibly, but laws and practices in this regard can differ from one country or region to another. For example, in some countries, “inventions” within the meaning of patent law must have a “technical character.” In other countries, such requirements do not exist, meaning that in these countries software is generally patentable subject matter. However this does not mean that all software can be patent protected. In order to obtain a patent, a software invention must not fall under other non-patentable subject matter (for example, abstract ideas or mathematical theories) and has to fulfill the other substantive patentability criteria (for example, novelty, inventive step `{`non-obviousness`}` and industrial applicability `{`usefulness`}`). - Should a patent turn out not to be a viable option for your software-related invention, then using copyright as a means of protection may be an alternative. In general, computer programs are protected under copyright as literary works. The protection starts with the creation or fixation of the work, such as software or a webpage. Moreover, in general, you are not required to register or deposit copies of your work in order to obtain a copyright protection. However, according to a well-established principle, copyright protection extends only to expressions, not to ideas, procedures, methods of operation, or mathematical concepts as such. Thus, many companies protect the object code of computer programs by copyright, while the source code is kept as a trade secret. Find out more about copyright.

27. Can I patent my app?

Whether you can obtain patent protection for an app depends on which element of your app you wish to protect. If you want to protect a technical idea or feature relating to the app, patent protection is a potential option. Depending on the applicable national law, the software that runs your app may be successfully protected by patents if it has certain technical features. You must however mind that your technical idea must meet all of the patentability requirements to obtain patent protection, and it may take years to get such a patent. - In addition, it is important to ask yourself which element(s) of your app should be protected from free use by competitors. The software that runs your app can be protected by copyright (potentially also by patents, as described above). If you are interested in protecting logos or signs contained within your app however, you should consider protecting them using trademarks. Literary and artistic works included within your app, such as original databases, musical works, audiovisual works, and works of fine art and photograph are protected by copyright. Graphical objects and layouts can be protected using industrial designs. - Ignorance which usually daunts a potential investor regarding confidentiality clauses.

28. Can I obtain a patent and keep my invention secret?

No. Patents are granted by patent offices in exchange for a full disclosure of the invention. In general, the details of the invention are then published and made available to the public at large.

29. Can I discuss details of my invention with a potential investor before filing a patent application?

It is important to file a patent application before publicly disclosing the details of an invention. In general, any invention which is made public before an application is filed would be considered “prior art” (although the definition of the term “prior art” is not uniform at the international level, in many countries, it refers to any information which has been made available to the public anywhere in the world by written or oral disclosure before the filing date). - In countries which apply the above definition of the term “prior art”, an applicant’s public disclosure of an invention prior to filing a patent application would prevent him/her from obtaining a valid patent for that invention, since the invention would not comply with the novelty requirement. Some countries, however, allow for a grace period – usually between 6 and 12 months – which provides a safeguard for applicants who disclosed their inventions before filing a patent application. Further, the novelty criteria may be interpreted differently depending on the applicable law. If disclosing your invention before filing a patent application is unavoidable – for example, to a potential investor or a business partner – then any disclosure should be accompanied by a confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement. It should also be kept in mind that applying early for patent protection will generally be helpful when seeking financial support to commercialize an invention.

30. Can the decision to grant a patent be challenged?

The grant of a patent can be challenged either via a patent office or in a court of law. A court may invalidate or revoke a patent upon a successful challenge by a third party. Procedures for challenging patents differ from country to country.