This new discovery soon becomes available to other people. This is in fact a threat to the inventor as it can be used by someone else to profit from or for any other purpose. To protect the right of these inventors the concept of patents was introduced
This is infact necessary and has been helping individuals, company’s and even countries that otherwise would have been at a disadvantage. For a specified period the rights are completely exclusives so these inventors can use it for business purpose and can make fortunes.
A discoverer needs to fill 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.
After thorough examination the applicant is granted the patent rights. The patentee can use his discovered baby 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.
Although patents are territorial in nature and are mostly governed by the national laws but these laws are universally recognized. However 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. 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. Moreover if the competitor was somehow late in reporting the discovery then he has to suffer. Patent also may act as stumbling block in new discovery.
Although arguments and counter-arguments will always exist but it is a known fact that patent have helped many discoverer in protecting their discovery.