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What Are the Patent Eligibility Criteria?

In the blog, you will get to know everything related to Patent Eligibility criteria and the requirement needed to grant a patent. Read along to learn more.

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One of the most significant aspects of patent law is the standards for patentability. They serve as the foundation for a patent’s award, breadth of protection, and patent validity. It impacts the patent system’s overall efficiency in encouraging scientific and technical development, economic growth, and public benefit. If they fail, the patent machine will fail.

The Indian Patents Act does not lay out patentability standards and their aspects in an organised manner. Though the definitions capture the criteria at a high level, determining the specifics of some of the requirements takes more time than planned. The Indian patent law, like those of many other nations, has five (5) patentability conditions.

Patent Eligibility 

The eligibility requirements for patent subject matter vary according to the patent office and patent laws worldwide. Novelty and non-obviousness are standard qualifying requirements for patent safeguarding throughout nations. Subject to certain limitations and exemptions, the novelty states that the creation should not be disclosed publicly before patent registration.

Furthermore, the inventive or non-obviousness step criterion says that the design is not apparent to an individual with ordinary competence. Moreover, the eligibility criteria of subject matter involve examining the primary claim of an independent patent, which differs depending on the area of invention, such as software, medicinal formulation, manufacturing technique, and so on.

Patent Requirements

The invention must be unique and original. The design must be one-of-kind and never previously seen in nature. 

Indian Patents Act states that an innovative step is a characteristic of a creation that includes a technological advance or has economic importance, making the invention not apparent to an individual versed in work. The design must have market value and be helpful or have an industrial use. Anyone eligible in the sphere of innovation should be able to leverage to gain from it. The usage must be legitimate, or it will be barred if it is created for immoral or illegal objectives.

The industrial application indicates that the innovation should add value to the market. To be patented, it should have value. Anything discovered in nature is not copyrighted. A fresh creation defines any technology or invention that hasn’t been anticipated or predicted by publication in the nation or somewhere else.


Patent Eligibility Criteria

For a patent to be awarded, an invention must be a product or method that:

  • Patentable Subject Matter: The word “patentable subject matter” appeared nowhere in the Patents Act and was copied from the US Patent Code. The term “Patentable Subject Matter” is used in the TRIPS Agreement with a broader meaning than this chapter. For this chapter, patentable subject matter refers to subjects deemed patentable and those that are not.

The definition of innovation provides comprehensive criteria for patentable subjects, stating that an invention under the Act must be either a product or a process. In other words, an innovation must be either a product or a method to be evaluated for patentability. Thus, patent-able subjects are goods and procedures not restricted by field, technology, or other factors. 

On a broad level, every innovation is either a product or a method, and patentability challenges at this level are uncommon. On the other hand, the Patents Act includes a comprehensive list of innovations that are not patentable, which is a significant portion of the patentable subject matter requirement.

Sections 3 and 4 of the Patents Act provide a list of non-patentable innovations. While Section 3 deals with a general list of subjects that are not deemed innovations, Section 4 excludes atomic energy inventions from the scope of patentability. If an invention’s subject matter comes inside the list specified in the abovementioned sections, the design will not fulfil the patentable subject matter criterion.

Section 3 contains sixteen (16) sentences, each listing several items that are not considered innovations. The sixteen (16) clauses include around forty-six (46) topics according to one calculation. The extensive list of non-patentable innovations appears to limit the breadth of patentable subject matter in India. However, the legislative wording of the topics gives room for interpretation, which applicants have used and will continue to use to distinguish patentable discoveries from unpatentable ones.

Furthermore, an invention must be related to the patentable subject matter. Every jurisdiction has its standards for determining the patentable subject matter. The list of non-patentable subject subjects is mentioned explicitly in India.

  • Novelty: The novelty of creation is vital in establishing its patentability. The design must result in new information, a new product, or a new procedure. It should not be predicted by any document, awarded the patent, published patent, non-Patent literature, or any other form already in the public domain. It must be distinct from what is currently known.
  • Inventive Step: The innovator must contribute creatively to the invention. It should be something that the person knowledgeable in the craft would not expect. Suppose an inventor solves a technical problem by inventing something. Another skilled in the art from the same field provides the same solution by using his acquired knowledge or taking teaching. In that case, suggestion or motivation, the inventor’s technical solution will not be considered inventive.
  • Industrial Application Capability: Section 2(ac) of the Patents Act demonstrates industrial application as “the creation is potent of being utilised or manufactured  in a sector.” It means that the creation cannot be present in the abstract and must apply in any sector, which suggests that the product must be helpful in order to be patentable.
  • Specification: To secure a patent, the inventor must submit a patent application that includes a specification (Section 10). The specification’s purpose is to offer comprehensive information to the public regarding the invention and the method of carrying and defining the invention’s bounds. 

The specification must include a written description of the invention and the process and technique for creating and using it. It may consist of drawings in the textual description to depict the design properly when necessary. If the patent office demands a model or sample as an example of the invention, a model or piece must be supplied. However, it will not include such a model in the specification.

The specification must enable the invention, which means it must completely and specifically detail the creation, its operation or application, and the method by which it is to be carried out. It is required to describe the embodiment of the invention claimed in each claim. The description of the design must be clear that any person in the field can execute it, and no more testing is necessary to put the invention into effect. The specification must also describe the best method of carrying out the invention known to the applicant when the patent application is filed.


These are the legislative requirements for an invention’s patentability. It is evident from the preceding explanation that the issued Patent necessitates several inspections and clearances. Every government evaluates the claimed innovation under its stated law, regulation, or criterion. As a result, it is essential to review and obey the country-specific Patentability requirements to avoid the Patent office rejecting a submitted Patent application.

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