What is a Patent?
"Whenever you invent something which is original, you apply for a Patent for the invention.
In order to get a Patent, your invention must be unique. One farmer in Kerala recently got a Patent for a device which helped him to climb trees and pull down coconuts very quickly.
So if you have something which is unique and interesting, you should definitely apply for a Patent for that invention. "
So the next question is, when can an invention be called unique?
"Simply put, it means that the invention must be new and unique.
An invention should not be simply a re-work of something which already exists. For example, if you take an ordinary car tyre and paint it yellow, you cannot patent it even if nobody else has a yellow car tyre.
Keep in mind that a patent should also be commercially useful. If for instance you build a device for running mobile phones on Planet Jupiter, it cannot be patented because nobody lives on Planet Jupiter, and will not for the forseeable future. "
How do I apply for a Patent?
"The first process of getting a Patent is called ""Patent Search"".
The process of searching is done by professional attorneys. We engage the best attorneys who go through Government databases, and also search through any records that might be available to check if the invention has been patented by someone else.
Once the search is done, the next step is to build the Patent ""Specification"". A Specification is nothing but a complete description of your invention and what the unique features of your invention are.
Once the specification is created, it has to be submitted to the Government department - with this, the application is done. "
If I get a Patent in India, do I get protection everywhere?
"Every country has a unique structure for Patent Application. But the good thing is that once you apply in India, even if someone in the U.S. wants to apply for a similar invention, the U.S. Patent office will look at your invention and deny that application.
This effectively means that by applying for a Patent in India, you get protection in many key markets like the United States. "
What is the major difference between a Trademark, Copyright and a Patent?
"As the name suggests, a trademark is given to a brand name, logo or slogan.
If you create anything creative, that is entitled to a copyright. It is easy to remember it like this - when you get a copyright, no one can copy it. It does not apply to inventions however, only to creative work like literary work, artistic work, musical work and the like.
A Patent on the other hand is given to inventions. If you invent anything which has strong commercial value and is unique, it can be patented. Some of the most popular items today, like a radio, mobile phone, automobile and television were patented by their inventors"
Can I patent my idea?
"Yes, you can patent your idea. However, before the patent is registered, you need to prepare a working prototype or model using which you can apply for the Patent.
What I would recommend is that you first do a Prior Art Search to check if your Patent is available, and after that prepare a model / prototype and apply for the final Patent Protection. "
Can I patent my software?
"Yes, you can get a Patent for software. However, just by itself, the software cannot be patented. The software has to be embedded in a hardware, and because of that, the hardware should get new capabilities.
For example, if I write a software by which a phone camera can take a 100 megapixel photo, then that can be patented.
So the important point is that to get a Patent, the software should be combined with hardware.
If you cannot combine the software with hardware, the alternative is to apply for a Copyright for the software. This way, the entire content of the software (which is also called the source code) will be protected"