Patents For Business: Types, Duration, Law and Application Process

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29 Nov 2023

Innovation and patents are fundamental drivers of business success, with patents for businesses serving as a cornerstone for safeguarding intellectual property

rights (IPR) and fostering competitive advantage. The Indian Patent Act of 1970, along with its amendments, provides a robust framework for patent law, ensuring comprehensive market protection for innovators.

The Role of Patents in Encouraging Innovation

Patents for businesses are instrumental in promoting innovation. By granting inventors exclusive rights under patent law, these legal instruments are vital in encouraging investment in research and development. This exclusivity underpins effective patent strategy, protecting against imitation and ensuring that businesses can fully leverage their innovative endeavors.

Understanding Patents: Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and Business Growth

A patent is a key element in intellectual property rights (IPR), granting inventors under patent law exclusive rights to their innovations. This exclusivity is essential for patent portfolio management, forming a critical part of strategic patent approaches for businesses.

Types of Patents: Ensuring Comprehensive Market Protection

Patents can be broadly categorized into three types, each serving a unique purpose and offering different forms of protection:

  1. Utility Patents:
    • Definition: These are the most common type of patents, granted for the invention of new processes, machines, chemical compositions, or improvements to existing ones.
    • Duration: Typically, utility patents last for 20 years from the application date.
    • Significance: They are crucial for businesses that invest in developing new technologies, processes, or chemical formulas, providing them a temporary monopoly to capitalize on their innovation.
  2. Design Patents:
    • Definition: Design patents protect the ornamental design of a functional item. This can include the shape, surface ornamentation, or overall appearance of a product.
    • Duration: These patents usually last for 15 years from the grant date.
    • Importance: They are essential for businesses where the product’s aesthetic is a key differentiator in the market, ensuring that competitors cannot copy the unique appearance.
  3. Plant Patents:
    • Definition: Granted for the invention or discovery of a new and distinct variety of plant, including mutants, hybrids, and newly found seedlings.
    • Duration: Like utility patents, plant patents are valid for 20 years from the filing date.
    • Relevance: These are vital for agricultural firms and researchers who develop new plant varieties, providing them exclusive rights to reproduce and sell the plant.

The Patent Application Process: Key to Patent Strategy and Portfolio Management

This structured procedure is crucial for securing patents for businesses and involves several key steps, each playing a pivotal role in effective patent portfolio management.

  1. Patentability Search: A critical step in patent strategy, this involves checking if an invention is novel and non-obvious.
  2. Drafting the Patent Application: A detailed description of the invention is prepared, central to patent portfolio management.
  3. Filing the Patent Application: Submit your application to the Indian Patent Office, either online or at physical offices in Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, or Chennai.
    Includes the patent application form, specification, drawings (if any), abstract, and proof of right to apply if the applicant is not the inventor.
  4. Publication and Examination: The application is published, and an examination request must be made for the patent office’s review. The application is published after 18 months from the filing date or the priority date.
  5. Responding to Objections: Addressing the examiner’s report is vital for patent litigation strategies.
  6. Grant of Patent: The final step in securing intellectual property rights (IPR), leading to the publication in the Patent Journal.
  7. Renewal of the Patent: Important for maintaining patents for businesses, involving the payment of renewal fees. A patent in India is valid for 20 years from the date of filing, subject to the payment of renewal fees at specified intervals.
  8. Important Tips: It’s often advisable to seek help from a patent attorney or agent for drafting and processing the application, as the procedure can be complex.
    Be mindful of the deadlines at each stage, especially for filing the complete specification and responding to the examiner’s report

Patent Law and Patent Litigation: Safeguarding Innovations

Understanding Indian patent law is crucial for effective patent litigation strategies. This includes knowing the types of inventions eligible for patents, the term of a patent, rights of a patentee, and the procedures for patent application and enforcement.

Leveraging Patents for Business Success: Patent Strategy and Market Protection

Integrating patents into business strategies is crucial for Indian businesses. Effective patent strategies, including patent portfolio management and patent licensing and enforcement, are key to leveraging innovation and patents for market protection and business growth.


In summary, patents for businesses, as part of intellectual property rights (IPR), play a pivotal role in the Indian market. Understanding and effectively navigating patent law, and integrating patent strategy, patent portfolio management, and patent litigation into business practices are indispensable for companies seeking to innovate and maintain a competitive edge.

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