The patentee is entitled to exclusive ownership of an invention for a set period of time under a patent. A patentee receives several significant legal rights when their innovation is patented. Sadly, many inventors and company owners are still unclear about how to use and effectively enforce their legal rights as patent holders, despite the growing awareness of property rights and their significance for enterprises. If you are aware of your patent rights, you may take the appropriate action if somebody is caught copying your innovation. To prevent the violation, an innovation must be patented in India under the provisions of the Patents Act, 1970. The patentee is granted some rights under the same statute, as well as some requirements that must be met.
Did you know?
The number of patent filings increased from 42,763 in 2014-15 to 66,440 in 2021-22!
What is a Patent?
The word "patent," as used in the Indian Patent Act of 1970, refers to a patent issued for a novel technique or item involving an innovative step and suitable for industrial use.
In exchange for complete exposure to innovation, the government grants the patentee exclusive statutory protection for a set amount of time. They grant the patent holder a monopoly so that no one else may use, create, offer for sale, sell, or import the patented goods.
Importance of Patented Invention
The protection of the inventor's intellectual property rights is guaranteed by patent legal action. It grants the patent proprietor exclusive rights over the sale and production of the patented goods. This right gives the creator the authority to control how and how much the invention may be employed by users. An inventor must submit an application for the invention's patent grant in order to uphold these rights. The inventor receives exclusive privileges upon the conclusion of official procedures and evaluations.
What are the Rights of a Patent Holder?
The owner of a patent is entitled to a number of benefits, including the ability to grant licences to third parties and allow them to market and produce the patented product. It is crucial to remember that these privileges do not exist in a vacuum and are subject to a number of restrictions and limits.
The most comprehensive international agreement on intellectual property is the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement, which went into force on January 1st, 1995. Its scope of intellectual property includes the following areas:
- Privileges associated with copywriting.
- Trademarks and service marks.
- Geographical information, such as origin-specific names
- Industrial concepts
- Protection of novel plant species through patents
- Designs for integrated circuit layouts
- Unreleased details, such as test results and trade secrets
According to Article 28 of the TRIPS Agreement, patent owners are guaranteed the following:
- When a commodity is the focus of a patent, it is illegal for third-party candidates to use, create, offer for sale, sell, or import the commodity without the patent holder's permission.
- When a procedure is the focus of a patent, it is illegal for third parties to use, offer for sale or sell the procedure without the owner's permission.
- Additionally, patent owners are entitled to licence agreements, patent assignments, and succession transfers.
Bajaj Auto Ltd. vs TVS Motor Company Ltd.
In the case, TVS Motor Company applied for and used the proprietary Digital Twin Spark Ignition (DTSi) technology without authorisation (Defendant). The DTSi belonged to BAJAJ Auto Limited as its intellectual property (Plaintiff). Plaintiff submitted a patent application in 2002 and was given a patent in 2005 for the technology.
In the end, the Madras High Court ruled that the plaintiff had the DTSi technology patent and has been using it for five years.
Some of the rights enjoyed by the patentees are discussed here in detail:
1. Right to Exploit the Patent
The authority to use, market, produce, and distribute the protected goods is granted to the patent holder in India. If the innovation involves a manufacturing method, the patent holder retains the right to impart the method to a third party. Additionally, the patent holder's attorney has the authority to enforce this claim.
If a new innovation is a commodity, the patent holder is granted the only right to manufacture, market, and utilise the innovation in India for designated uses. On the other side, if the innovation relates to the production of a substance or an object, the right to exploit encompasses the exclusive right to use the production method or system within the boundaries of India.
The exclusive right of a patentee to pursue commercial gains from the innovation is taken into account by Indian patent law. It motivates creators to engage in their creative endeavours because they know that their ideas will be legally protected and that no one else will be able to copy them within a set length of time (mostly 20 years).
2. Right to Grant or Assign Licenses
The owner of a patent has the authority to delegate or give licences to third parties for the purpose of producing and distributing the protected goods. When there are several patent owners for a patented product, all patent owners must agree to issue the licence to a third party as a group. Only after the administrator has properly approved the request, the licence is deemed to be issued. The assignment or licence must thus be in written and filed with the Patent Authority in order to be valid and legitimate.
3. Right to Surrender the Patent
After properly requesting authorization from the controllers, the patent holder has the authority to abandon the patent. The Controller then publishes this surrendering in accordance with the Indian Patent Act's regulations. The parties looking to acquire patent ownership can speak with the Controller directly. The Controller then reviews the party's claims and assigns the ownership. Only if the holder is prepared to give up the patent does the transfer take place.
By submitting notification in a certain way, the patentee has the ability to surrender a patent at any time and at their own discretion. This involves placing advertising in the publication with a request to give up the patent.
4. Right before Selling
A patent is protected from the date of the notification for approval to the date of the notification's adoption, in accordance with Section 24 of the Indian Patents Act. Following the presentation of the notice for acceptance, the patentee's entitlement is applicable.
5. Right to Apply for the Patent of Addition
This provision is included in the Patents Act of 1970, sections 54 to 56. The clause permits alterations to the current invention. In these situations, as soon as the notification of approval is made public, the patent holder is given the right to the improved innovation. The owner is given the same rights as that of the prior patent upon the presentation of the notification.
6. Right to Sue in Case of Infringement
Patent infringement is the word used to describe any violation of a patent holder's privileges. A patentee may file a complaint with either a lower court or a high court to have any rights violations addressed. In the event that the defendant is convicted of infringing, the court may decide to give compensation or a long-term order.
Once the patent and associated rights are issued, patentees also have responsibilities to perform. We will go over all of the requirements that each and every patent holder in India must meet in the next section.
What are the Obligations of Patentees?
1. Duty to Disclose the Patent:
The petitioner must reveal the innovation to society, according to Section 8 of the Patent Act of 1970. At the time of applying for a patent or within 6 months of submitting applications, the patentee is unequivocally required to disclose all necessary information regarding the faraway application of an identical or nearly identical innovation that has been documented, according to Section 8(1) of the Patent Act of 1970. The patent holder must also include all of the mentioned parameters in the applications. Additionally, the patentee should make an effort to disclose any relevant points in any upcoming application that may be recorded. According to Section 8(2) of the Patent Act, the patentee must provide all the information required by the Controllers on the innovation within six months after making the request.
2. Duty to Request for Examination:
The patent registration procedure does not provide for any type of scheduled assessment for the issuance of a patent application, in contrast to other intellectual property rights. According to Section 11(B) of the Patents Act, it is the patentee's responsibility to ask the Controllers to look at how the patent has developed or grown.
3. Duty to Respond to Objections:
The Patent Controller sends the inspection demand to an investigator, who evaluates the development before sending the First Examination Report (FER) back to the Patent Director. In some cases, the First Examination Report will mention some complaints. Responding to such reports of objection is required of patentees. They must also communicate within a year after the FER's issue. The patentee's claim will automatically be forfeited if this is not done.
4. Duty to Clear all Objections:
The holder of a patent is required to respond to any criticism and refute any claims made against their innovation. A meeting can also be necessary if the Patent Administrator has not performed their role. The Patent Controllers have the authority to transfer the patent claims to any opposing party if the petitioner doesn't respond to the complaints.
5. Duty to Pay Statutory Fees:
The patentees must also pay all statutory costs associated with the registration procedure in order to be granted a patent. The patent will not be taken into consideration for the grant if the payment is not made. The payment of appropriate charges and the consequences of not paying specified fees are covered in Section 142 of the Patent Act.
A patentee's rights are explicitly stated in the Patents Act of 1970. However, there are many instances of patent infringement. A patentee's entitlements can only be cleared when proper regulations are in place and evolve over time to reflect changing circumstances. In the event of an infringement of their patent rights, patentees are entitled to file a lawsuit in court. A patentee, however, must use his or her rights within the legal restrictions imposed by the law. Understanding and defending your rights is essential for getting the most out of them. A patentee must also be aware of the restrictions on these rights, as well as the commitments that must be made.
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