In absence of physical boundaries, knowledge and idea free flows, uninterrupted and unhindered, from one place to the other place. An incident in one corner of the world affects people residing in any other part of the world.
In this knowledge era people are constantly engaged in designing new masterpiece of their own. New inventions, new technology and new gadgets are regularly being introduced in the market.
However, since knowledge flows very fast there are umpteen chances of the knowledge being copied by others for some business purpose. This might be harmful for the discoverer because he had toiled hard to discover the new technology but at the end of the day he finds someone else making fortunes of his hard work.
To protect the rights of these discoverer patent laws were introduced. This is infact necessary and has been helping several individuals, company’s and even countries that otherwise would have been at disadvantage. Since for a particular specified period the rights are completely exclusives so these inventors can use it for business purpose and can make fortunes.
The inventor is provided with an application form at the patent office where he will have to furnish all the relevant details about his invention-the purpose and the usefulness of the discovery should be outlined exhaustively; the inventor may even be required to use illustrative diagrams. Different countries may have slightly different procedure but the central idea remains intact. Those desirous of obtaining patent are required to make their invention public.
A thorough examination is done, after verifying all the relevant documents and understanding the usefulness of the application the applicant is granted the patent rights. The patent law grants a patentee exclusive rights to use his discovery as per his own requirements and during those periods no one else is allowed to use the patentee’s work for any purpose-business or personal. After the expiry of the patent periods anyone is free to use the technology.
Patents are of different types like chemical patent, biological patent, software patent business method patent, petty patent or innovation patent, design patent and plant patent.
Patents have been the cause of major disputes too. If the dispute is confined to a national boundary then the respective country’s patent office can intervene but in the case of international disputes the matter becomes very complicated.
Efforts are being made to bring all patent laws under a single jurisdiction such as bringing it under the ambit of World Trade Organization. TRIPs Agreement was a move aimed in this direction and hopefully have also achieved success.
Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, European Patent Convention, European Patent Organization, and Patent Cooperation are some of the other international forums which are actively trying to ward off international disputes with regard to patents.
There are those who are against the patent law.
They argue that patent grant exclusive rights to a particular individual or company who can use it to exploit the people by eliminating the competitors. Patent law has protected many discoverers but if some loopholes are there then it should be immediately corrected.