Is it Possible to Extend/Increase the Life of the Patent?

Last Updated at: Jul 06, 2021
Life of the Patent

A patent is a form of intellectual property that gives its owner the right to exclude others. As per the Indian Patents Act, a patent is granted on a product, process or an invention for a limited period of 20 years. Hence, the life span for a patent in India is 20 years from the date of filing the patent application. You cannot extend the life of the patent. After this lifespan expires, the invention no longer enjoys patent protection. The invention becomes part of the public domain. This means anyone can make, use, or sell the invention without infringement. 

Here is a catch though! As per Section 53, rule 80 of the Indian Patents Act, the patent holder must renew it regularly. This is to ensure that the patent remains in force during its lifetime. Therefore, you need to get your patent renewed by paying a small fee every year. 

What is Patent Protection?

It safeguards an invention against any legal disputes that may arise later on due to making, using, or selling an invention without the patentee’s permission.

Patent First – Apply As Soon As Possible

An application for a patent should not be delayed because once an invention is publicly displayed, there is no provision to patent it. However, there is the provision of a grace period of 365 days after issue under certain circumstances explained in Chapter VI of the Act (Sec 29-34), Patents Act 1970. 

Delay in the Patent application may involve risks. Maybe any other inventor files a patent on the said invention. Therefore, File a Patent application before anyone else.   

The Patent Application Procedure

The Patent life cycle starts with an application filed with the provisional specification – The title, written description, drawings, and claims – that discloses the nature of the invention. The patent registration procedure in India includes the following steps: 

1. Evaluate the patentability 

The first step is about deciding whether to apply for a patent or not. Here, the prior art search will help you to evaluate the patentability of your invention. You may perform a prior art search using free online patent databases. You can take the services of a legal service provider to evaluate it better. 

The patentability report using databases and legal adherents advice will help you to decide whether to draft a patent application or not. Maybe what you find as new might already have been patented in any form of information. So, such reports are going to save a lot of time, money, and efforts. 

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So, decide whether to go ahead with the patent or not. The following is the patentability criteria for an invention:

  • The Originality – It should be new. 
  • Industrial application – It should have the capability of Industrial application. 
  • Non-Obvious – It should have an inventive step with the ability to create new things. 
  • Enabling – It should not come under the provisions of sections 3 and 4 of the Indian Patents Act 1970. 

2. Prepare a patent application with Invention Disclosure 

Write down and submit as much detail as possible about the invention without holding anything back. You are supposed to elaborate on the area of invention, what and how it works, its advantages, lab records, technical information, its application in the industry, and most important the claims. It will be easy for those who have worked a lot on the invention during the R & D phase. 

Drafting a patent application is a really complex and time-consuming process but very important. The filing date is very crucial in the patent world. You can get one extra year of the patent if the application is drafted well. 

If you are doing it by yourself you must have a good understanding of patent laws. But most of the time, the general public is not well versed with such legal and applicable laws. It is strongly advised to take the assistant and services of a competent legal advisor like vakilsearch for preparing the patent application.

3. Publication of the application

The Patent application is published after 18 months of first filing. However, if you do not want to wait so long, you can make a request by paying prescribed fees for early publication. This request form of early publication ensures publishing of the patent application within a month.

4. Request to process the examining 

The patent examiner at the Patent office starts the process of examining the patent application but only after receiving a request. They will check the invention in all the above-defined patentability criteria – Patentability, Originality, Non-obviousness, Industrial application, and others.

There will be a first examination report and a substantive examination report that is to be submitted to the controller. Everything done before the grant of a patent is termed as patent prosecution.  

5. Respond to objections

The majority of applicants receive various objections raised by the Patent controller after examining the report and you have to respond to all objections and it will make the process even longer. It will be best to take the assistance of professionals and create a response to the objections. The professionals will create a response draft to resolve all objections and prove that the invention satisfies all patentability criteria. If not so, the patent will not be granted.

6. Grant of patent 

If the invention satisfies all patentability requirements, the application will accept to grant the patent. The grant will be notified in the patent journal of the Patent Office to invite objections from the public. It is called ‘pre‐grant opposition’. 

In case, the opposition files objects and succeeds to prove it partly, the patent may still be granted but with limited claims. It will create such restrictions on you that may not serve your purpose. 

If it fails, the Patent will be granted along with a certificate. Finally, the patent will be published in the gazette of the patent office.

That’s how Patent protects the businesses and will improve your power by providing your business with a competitive edge to earn more.

Hope, you have understood the complexity of Patent Application. The guidance of patent experts is necessary here. Vakilsearch

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Is the Patent ownership transferable? 

Yes, Patent ownership is transferable. The patent owner has the right to grant a license or even sell the ownership to someone else to use the invention. Then, the buyer will become the new owner of the patent. 

2. Can Patent be extended/increased? 

Yes, you can extend Patent every year by paying renewal fees as per the rules and regulations. But its validity is up to 20 years only. After that, patents will expire and the validity can not be increased. 

3. What will happen once a patent expires after 20 years? 

Once the patent granted expires, the patent protection also expires. And the invention will be available for the public and anyone can use the invention commercially too. It will not be an infringement of the patent.