Patents FAQs

I have an idea- How to protect it?
If the idea involves a technical product/process or combination of both then it can be protected by filing a patent application. This is called utility patent application.

If the requirement is to protect the aesthetic look/ design of the product then file an application for design.

If it’s a logo or a brand name then file an application for Trademark.

If it’s a literary or artistic then it can be protected by filing an application for copyright.
Who is an inventor?
A person who creates something involving technical product/process or combination of both through one’s intellect and who contributes for the technical/product or process can be listed as an inventor. There is no limit in the count of inventors to be listed in an application for patent
Who is an applicant?
A person or organization/company/firm who makes a formal application for grant of patent is an applicant. The applicant owns the right of a patent application. The inventors assign the patent to the applicant as part of patent filing procedure. The applicants can be more than one. Also an applicant can be a combination of an individual(s), individual(s) and organization(s), and organization(s).
Can an inventor and applicant be the same?
Yes, an inventor and applicant can be the same person(s). But any legal entity i.e. organization/company/firm cannot be an inventor. Inventor is always an individual.
Can Software and Business methods be patented?
Software “per se” is not patentable in most of the countries but its application is patentable under the category of computer related inventions. Both software and Business method patents are granted on case by case basis.

Section 3k of the Indian Patents Act, 1970, deals with non- patentability issues of software and business methods.
Is a discovery patentable?
Discovery is not patentable in India. Any substance occurring in nature, whether living or non-living is not patentable. Some countries allow a patent to be given for discoveries. For Example: United States.

Section 3c of the Indian Patents Act, 1970, deals with non- patentability issues of discoveries.
Are improvements in chemical substances patentable?
Mere improvements in chemical substance are not patentable in India. A significant improvement in the properties of the chemical substance is essential to qualify for a patent. Some examples of mere improvements are: Isomers, Isotopes, Salts, Esters etc.
Section 3d of the Indian Patents Act, 1970, deals with non- patentability issues of mere improvements in chemical substances.
Are micro-organisms patentable?
Naturally occurring micro-organisms are not patentable in India. However, genetically modified micro-organisms and their by-products are patentable.

Section 3j of the Indian Patents Act, 1970, deals with non- patentability issues of micro-organisms.
Is there any additional requirement for filing patent applications in respect of invention lies in biological material?
The Patents Act, 1970 as well as the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 stipulates that the source and geographical origin of the biological material should be clearly disclosed in the patent specification. Further, according to the provision of Section 6 of the Biological Diversity Act, if the biological material used in the invention is from India, permission from the National Biological Authority has to be obtained by the applicant, and the same should be submitted to the Patent Office before the grant of patent.
Are video games patentable?
Video games and board games are not patentable in India. However, if there is a novelty, has an inventive step and the concept is applicable in a new way then, it may be granted a patent.

Section 3k of the Indian Patents Act, 1970, deals with video games patentability issues.
Is a method of innovation or practice of any age-old method/traditional knowledge patentable?
Traditional knowledge is not patentable in India.

Section 3p of the Indian Patents Act, 1970, deals with Traditional Knowledge non- patentability issues.
I have exhibited my idea publicly or published in a journal or any medium, can my idea still be protected?
If the idea or related work has been displayed publicly, then within 12 months of such display an application for patent protection may be filed, subject to some provisions.
Is an idea disclosed in a class room lecture is patentable?
If the idea or related work has been discussed as a class room lecture, then within 12 months of such discussion an application for patent protection may be filed, subject to some provisions.
What is the difference between Design Application and Utility Application?
A Utility Application is filed to obtain a protection for a technical product/process or involving both. A design application is filed to protect the ornamental and non-functional aesthetics of a product.
Do I need to develop the prototype and execute the product/process for filing a patent application?
One can apply for a patent before creating a prototype. However, it is important that the filed patent application should fully and particularly describe the invention and its operation or use and the method by which it is to be performed and disclose the best method of performing the invention which is known to the applicant and for which he is entitled to claim protection.
How to submit my idea to Patent Office?
An idea may be described in what is called as a patent specification and filed accordingly. These are of two types: Provisional application and Non-Provisional/Complete specification.
What are the requirements for describing my idea for filing?
A clear and elaborate description of the idea and its working accompanied by a clear set of drawings which explain the working of the idea involved.
What are the requirements for filing design application?
A clear and elaborate description in the form of drawings submitted in duplicate. The drawings should be able to depict multiple views of the design idea like: front, rear, top, bottom, left side view, right side view and perspective view.
What is a patent?
A patent is a right given to an applicant of the patent where others cannot copy his invention or cannot use it without his permission.
What is the basis to determine the grant of patent by Patent Office?
Novelty, Non-Obviousness and Industrial Applicability are the three essential features that all the patent applications should satisfy in order to proceed for grant. Examiner determines these three features to give a patent grant.
What is Novelty?
Any invention or technology which has not been anticipated by publication in any document or used in the country or elsewhere in the world before the date of filing of patent application with complete specification, i.e., the subject matter is not in public domain or that it does not form part of the state of the art.
What is a “state of the art”?
The latest or most sophisticated form of technology or highest level of technology reached so far. It is the highest technological achievement in the field till date.
What is Non-Obviousness?
Any invention or technology sufficiently different from an existing one. The person skilled in the field does not find the difference to be obvious or an easy change over the existing invention or technology.

Section 2(ja) of the Indian Patents Act, 1970 deals with Non-obviousness.
What is Industrial Applicability?
The invention is capable of being made or used in an industry and also should be practically usable in an industry.

Section 2(ac) of the Indian Patents Act, 1970 deals with Industrial Applicability.
Who is a patentee?
The one who obtains or holds a patent is a patentee. An applicant eventually becomes a patentee when his idea gets patented and becomes an invention.
What is the term of a patent?
Patent term is the total period in which the protection for the invention is in force.
How is the patent term calculated?
It is usually 20 years from the date on which the application was first filed for patent. This limit is the same for almost all the countries.
Who is the issuing authority of patents in India?
The Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks (CGPDTM) also known as the Indian Patent Office.
Explain different types of Utility Patent applications?
Provisional application: Can be filed when the invention is still in the development stage. This application helps in sealing the filing date pending the completion of the invention.

Non-Provisional Application:When the invention is completely ready and each and every aspect can be described in detailed manner.

Sections 9 and 10 of the Indian Patents Act, 1970 deal with different types pf applications and their content.
What are the language restrictions in filing patent applications in India?
The officially accepted languages are English and Hindi.
Sections 9 and 10 of the Indian Patents Act, 1970 deal with different types pf applications and their content.
Where to file a patent application in India?
Based on the address for correspondence of the applicant the application can be filed with one of the offices located in Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi.

Sections 9 and 10 of the Indian Patents Act, 1970 deal with different types pf applications and their content.
Who can help me to file a patent?
An IP firm with qualified Attorneys and Patent agents are the best option to guide an applicant or an inventor for filing an application appropriately.
Sections 9 and 10 of the Indian Patents Act, 1970 deal with different types pf applications and their content.
Is it required to wait until a patent is granted to commercialize the product/process?
As a filed patent application has to go through statutory procedures, an applicant need not wait until the grant of patent. Applicant can commercialize once the patent application has been filed and application number gets generated with a filing date.

Sections 9 and 10 of the Indian Patents Act, 1970 deal with different types pf applications and their content.
What is patent pending/When does the patent application gets pending status?
The patent pending status starts once a patent application is filed and gets an application number and a filing date. Patent pending doesn’t start from the date of sharing the invention details with the patent facilitator.
When is my patent application published?
The patent application is published after 18 months from the date of filing the Indian patent application, unless an early publication request is filed. In case an early publication request the patent application is normally published within 1-2 months** from the date of filing such a request. The request can be submitted along with the application for filing. Section 11A of the of the Indian Patents Act, 1970 deals with examination of application
What is the timeline for the application to queued to be examined?
An application is eligible for examination only when a request for examination is filed. The time for filing such request is within 48 months from the date of first filing the application. The request can be submitted along with the application for filing.
What is examination of patent application?
It is the process in which upon the request of the applicant the patent office examines the non-provisional application whether it has fulfilled the criteria of patentability viz. Novelty,
Inventive step and Industrial applicability. Section 11(B) and section 12 of the Indian Patents Act, 1970 deal with examination of application.
Is there a provision to expedite the examination procedure?
Indian patent office provides provisions for expedited examination. If the one of the applicant is woman (all applicants should be individuals), a Startup certified by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), and a MSME certified company. Another provision is, if a PCT application is filed by choosing India as International Searching Authority then a request for expedited examination can be filed.
Can any application for patent be opposed before the grant of a patent?
Yes, a pre-grant opposition may be filed by a third party after the patent application is published. Pre grant opposition is dealt in section 25(1) of the Indian Patents Act, 1970.
Can any patent application be opposed after grant of a patent?
Yes, any person to whom the patent is of interest can file a post-grant opposition within 12 months of the patent grant being published in the register of patents. Post grant opposition is dealt in section 25(2) of the Indian Patents Act, 1970.
What to do when an applicant does not agree with the Patent Office’s decision?
An aggrieved applicant or patentee can appeal to the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB). Section 116-117H of the Indian Patents Act, 1970 deals with IPAB.
I got my patent. What next?
A prescribed maintenance fee or renewal fee is required to be paid to the patent office to maintain the patent in force.
My patent is being used without my permission! What should I do?
This is referred to as patent infringement. A legal action can be taken accordingly in consultation with a qualified legal team. Sec.107 of the Indian patents Act, 1970 explains
Can the patent be transferred?
Yes a patent is a transferable property. The procedure adapted can be through assigning all or some of the rights including title of the patent.
Is there a worldwide patent?
There is no single patent valid for the whole world. An inventor needs to seek protection separately in each country of his interest.
How to apply for patents outside India?
This can be done by either applying individually in a country of interest to the applicant (the conventional route) (or) can be applied through a Patent Cooperation treaty (PCT) Application.
Can I apply for a patent in multiple countries in one step?
Within 12 months of filing a Provisional or Non-Provisional Application in India, a PCT application can be filed.
What is a PCT?
A Patent Co-operation Treaty is an international patent law treaty that provides a unified procedure for filing patent applications to protect inventions in each of the countries which are the members of this treaty.
Does PCT Provide International Patent Grant?
PCT facilitates only International Patent Filing which gives International Application Number and Publication Number. PCT provides limited timeline for filing patent application individually in each contracting state. PCT is not a Patent Granting or Rejecting Authority.
I filed patent only in India can I file a case against a person who is copying my patent outside in India?
No, a patent valid in one country does not automatically give patent rights in another country. If the invention is patented in the country of interest outside India, then a case can be filed.
Can I file a case against a person who is copying my idea immediately after filing patent application?
No. A case can be filed for copying an idea only after a grant of patent for the invention. Though the compensation will be calculated from the date of publication of the idea to grant of patent for the invention.
Can I refile an application for patent after the lifetime of patent?
The lifetime of patent application is 20 years. The patent gets lapsed after the expiry of 20 years and cannot be extended by refiling the application for same product/process.
I have some improvements to the already filed patent application and Can I add the modifications to the already filed patent application?
Yes, improvements can be definitely filed as patent application. But, the content related to the improvements cannot be added to the already filed patent application. A separate patent application called Patent of Addition has to be filed claiming the priority date of already filed patent application. The concept of Patent of Addition is dealt in section 54 of the Indian Patents Act, 1970.
I have a foreign firm (for example registered in USA) and has come up with a product which needs to be filed as a patent application in India by listing foreign firm as Applicant and the inventors from India. Can a foreign firm file a patent in India?
Yes, any firm can file a patent in India by providing a correspondence address in India, a patent filing service provider’s correspondence can also be used as a correspondence address.
I have a foreign firm (for example registered in USA) and has come up with a product which needs to be filed as a patent application outside India (for example USA) and the inventors are from India. Can I directly file patent application outside India?
Yes, a patent application can be filed outside India by obtaining a Foreign Filing License from Indian Patent Office.

Foreign Filing License:

(A) Foreign Filing License (FFL) requirement arises if the inventor do not want to file patent application in his country but outside. For example, for a proposed patent application to be filed for which the list of inventors hold Indian Citizenship, but are not interested for filing Patent with Indian Patent Office, the Foreign Filing License should be obtained from Indian Patent Office to file patent application outside India.

(B) Foreign Filing License (FFL) requirement also arises for a proposed patent application for which the list of inventors having different nationalities. This can be explained in two scenarios. For example, consider one inventor has Indian citizenship and the other inventor has US citizenship.

B1: If the applicant insists priority filing in USA, the inventor holding Indian Citizenship should obtain Foreign Filing License from Indian patent office.

B2: If the applicant insists priority filing in India, the inventor holding US Citizenship should obtain Foreign Filing License from USPTO.
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Telangana, India.
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