Securing a patent bars others from making, using, or selling your intellectual property without your consent. Patents can be awarded to a process, an apparatus, a new use of an existing material, or an improvement on an existing technology, as long as it can be demonstrated to be new, useful, and not obvious to the person skilled in the field as per the Indian Patent law.
However, filing a patent can be a complex legal process. The Indian Patent Office, along with the patent attorney and agents, can help you navigate the legal requirements to determine whether your invention is patentable. After filing a patent application, it can take a significant amount of time for the patent to be granted or denied by the Indian Patent Office.
Most of the theoretical models of Research and Development (R&D) assume that the successful innovator will patent their invention but in practice this is not the case. Researchers/innovators often find it preferable to publish their inventions or the research paper and exclude the possibility of patenting even without actually going to the effort of obtaining a patent.
Publishing the research or publicly disclosing it before filing a patent application can severely limit its patentability and can completely bar the invention from receiving an Indian or foreign patent. However, seeking a patent first does not preclude publication of research results, and, in most cases to retain the potential for foreign patents, an Indian patent application must be filed before any description of the invention is published in an article, abstract, thesis, presentation, or other public format to refrain it from going "in the public domain".
Why researchers prefer Publication over Patent?
There are several reasons due to which Indian researchers prefer article publication over patent. One can be a lack of awareness about the procedure of patent. Generally, publishing a research paper is more emphasized in most Indian universities and research institutes as research publication gives more visibility to the researcher among academic fraternity. The patent on the other hand is a time consuming process as compared to the publication.
- In India the patent right is not a big enough carrot to lure the researcher into filing a patent application. The reasons maybe that the research subject has no commercial value, maybe the cost to commercialize the technology is too big a hurdle for the researcher to scale or maybe the Patents Act in India provides too little protection for patents.
- The economic costs (legal fees, etc.) of going through the act of obtaining a patent may, for small innovations, exceed the actual benefits of getting a patent.
- The university or research institution where the researchers work do not have licensing department or IP cell to recoup the value of IP rights for the new inventions or the research work. A researcher needs professional help when deciding whether to file a patent application for his/her new discoveries. And, even if the researcher is awarded a patent, he/she may have trouble selling the patent right.
- Since, no extra bonus is provided for a patent application when compared to a paper, most researchers would choose publishing a paper. Writing a patent is different from writing a paper, also paper is relatively quicker to publish and easier to write (no claims at all).
However, a patent followed by a good publication is not a bad idea wherever it is applicable, as you may get royalty for your work if there are people ready to use it in future and peer recognition is an added benefit.
But the most important thing is, before starting your research you should decide first whether you look for good publication or patent because both things are different. For procuring a good publication the researcher requires a good theoretical concept but, for a patent the researcher needs to show novelty, inventive step and utility too. For patent you also need to find out current public demand along with its IP valuation.
There is a need to increase the awareness regarding the importance of patents and the knowledge regarding the filling of patent application. Patent is much more valuable for a researcher and it is a wellestablished fact, but Indian researchers seem to not value it much at present. Japanese articles and research papers are often accompanied with a prefiled patent application.
Although publication has certain advantages, but the patent can be more useful as Patent = good publication + IP. Patent gives an authority to sell the product whereas paper gives an idea of the work to others to do further research. A good patented product can be commercialized and gives value over and above a paper. Research paper is a discussion over your work done. However, patent is the first step towards commercialized production of work. Patent, therefore, has more worth than Publication.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.