Updated: Oct 24, 2019
A patent refers to a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or assignee for a limited period of time in recognition for its novelty, inventiveness and usefulness in exchange for detailed public disclosure of that particular invention. It is a subset of Intellectual Property Rights and based on the solution to a specific technological
problem, it can either be a product or a process patent.
It provides the rights to block any other person or company from manufacturing, using, selling or offering for sale, and even importing an invention which is patented in that country. The manufacturers can use the patent rights to attain monopoly over the invention to the extent covered by the rights and gain competitive advantage in that relevant technology field. However, this right has a term of 20 years from the date of initial filing. This use or exploitation of a patent may be dependent on other laws of the country which has awarded the patent, e.g. health, safety, food, etc.
One of the most pertinent points in patent is that it is valid only in that country where the rights are granted. In other words, an Indian patent is valid only in India and US patent is valid only in US. Therefore, one must apply for registration of patent rights in each and every country, where one is interested in protecting their inventions. Ideally, the inventor protects his invention in that country where it is possible to market his invention and may have requisite resources to exploit the market.
Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is an international convention that facilitates a single window application process for multiple countries through World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). This filing helps to obtain registration in the designated countries. It does not create global or world patents, but provides protection only in those countries where it is applied and granted. In case, a person is not granted patent say in US due to a prior registered patent for similar product, but is granted the patent for same in EU, then manufacturing and marketing that product in EU is beneficial for him, however, doing the same in US will lead to infringement.