Patent and Design Law

The ever-increasing competition in the international world of commerce has changed the approach towards patents and designs. Now, it has become crucial to have a strategy for protecting one's intellectual property since, making a good enough income from them has grown rather easy. Keeping your patents and designs protected minimizes the risk of fraud or stealing. The FAQ given below will be helpful in understanding patent and design law.

 

What are the patents?

A patent is a right that allows you to exclude people from enjoying your intellectual property.

 

What is intellectual property?

Intellectual property includes anything intangible created from one’s creativity and original thought process.

 

 

Who grants a patent?

The government grants patents under the provisions of law.

 

 

To whom is a patent granted?

A patent is granted to the inventor of intellectual property.

 

 

What rights are protected by a patent?

The inventor, via a patent, has the right to exclude people from exploiting or enjoying his intellectual property or making money through it.

 

 

How long does a patent’s protection last?

It will generally protect your rights as an inventor for up to twenty years from the time of filing.

 

 

What can I protect via a patent?

A patent will protect any intellectual property, which is new and useful. Examples include chemical compounds, mechanical devices, software, applications, algorithms, articles, manufacturing processes, business methods. The intellectual property must be inventive and must cause improvement that is not obvious to a skilled worker. Moreover, the improvement could be small and does not necessarily have to be a major breakthrough in the industry.

 

 

What cannot be protected by a patent?

A patent does not protect artistic works, general plans or schemes, etc.

 

 

Can I have a worldwide patent?

No, there is no worldwide patent, and the inventor has to obtain a patent from each country he seeks to get his intellectual property protected.

 

 

What are the powers of a patent owner?

A patent owner can decide who can use his invention while the duration of the patent's protection lasts. Moreover, a patent owner has the power to grant a license or permit other people to use his invention on mutually accepted conditions. He can also sell the patent to another party, which will make that person the patent owner of that invention.

 

 

What happens when a patent expires?

Upon expiry of a patent, the invention shall be left unprotected and shall be entered in the public domain. This makes it legal for anyone to make use of that invention as the inventor holds no rights or power over it. Moreover, it can also be utilized or exploited for commercial purposes.

 

 

How is an “invention” defined?

Any process or product that is novel and useful and introduces an improvement in at least the concerned or related field, then it will be deemed as "invention".

 

 

What is the difference between a product and a process?

A product is any article, machine, substance, or apparatus whereas, a process can be defined as any procedure, method, manner of manufacturing, or any art.

 

 

Is my invention patentable in Pakistan?

Your invention is not patentable if as per the provisions of the Patent Ordinance, 2000 it is:

  • “a discovery, scientific theory, law of nature or mathematical method;

  • a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work or any other creation of purely aesthetic character whatsoever; 

  • a scheme, rule or method for performing a mental act, playing a game or doing business;

  • the presentation of information, computer software; and

  • that exist in nature or if isolated therefrom.”

 

 

What is meant by “novelty”?

Novelty means that the invention is new and is not a part of state of the art, which consists of everything that is disclosed to or is discussed by the general public anywhere in the globe. Hence, the inventor should ensure that the invention is not disclosed to the public before it is protected by the patent.

 

What is not included in the "state of the art"?

Any article that is exhibited at an official and recognized exhibition within 12 months preceding the filing of the application for seeking a patent for that invention.

 

  • What are the different types of applications for seeking a patent?

    • Complete or Provisional Application: It is an ordinary patent application.

    • Application for a right of priority: The official date of this patent is the date of the patent granted in another country which is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

    • Application for Patent of addition: This application is filed when an addition or alteration is required in a patent already granted. 

 

What is an inventive step?

An inventive step is an improvement in the industry in which an average skilled person belonging to that industry could not have achieved, and neither is that invention evident to him.

 

 

How does my invention qualify as industrially applicable?

An invention qualifies as being industrially applicable when it can be used within the industry or can be manufactured.

 

 

How is a registered design defined?

A design includes any shape, pattern, ornamentation or configuration of an article which can be judged by an eye. Moreover, a registered design is a design that is protected under the law, such as selling or displaying copies of it will result in a violation of the law.

 

 

What designs are protected?

The designs that are protected must be original and new at the time of filing for their protection. Moreover, 3D shapes, 2D patterns, or/ and are typically protected via registration.

 

 

What could prevent your design from being registered?

If your design only differs immaterially in detail or includes a commonly used feature or lacks originality, then it cannot be registered.

 

 

How will an attorney help you?

An attorney helps you in obtaining and protecting your rights that arise out of your intellectual property. The attorney shall manage the processes required for securing a patent or registering a design as per the provisions of law.

Caution: 

Information contained in the above FAQs is for general understanding purposes only and may have altered or have become incorrect owing to variation in factual aspects and evolving laws, therefore, should not be treated as an alternate to professional legal advice.