ThiruvananthapuramMarch 5The freedom to "invent around" is the best bargain that grant of patent throws up to competition, even while promoting the drive for cheaper and better variants of the invention for the common good of stakeholders.
"Invent around" is rendered possible thanks to the invention having already been revealed through the Patent Office in a form understandable to a "person skilled in the art," according to Mr R.S. Praveen Raj, Scientist (IP Management and Technology Transfer), Regional Research Laboratory -Thiruvananthapuram (RRL-T).
Presenting a paper at the recently concluded workshop on patents, Mr Praveen Raj, a former examiner with the Indian Patent Office, said that the patentee is not able to prevent research on his invention.
This ultimately would promote healthy competition among manufacturers resulting in day-to-day improvement of technology, which augurs well growth of the economy and better living standards.
Grant of patent for inventions attracts investment because the commercial exploitation of the invention is possible to its fullest extent during the term of the patent.
By virtue of the grant, the patentee gets the exclusive right to prevent third parties not having his consent from making, using, offering for sale, selling or importing the patented product or process within the territory of grant.
Patent cannot be viewed as monopoly as it is not granted to something that is already available in the public domain.
A patented product can be challenged with advanced technology even while the patent is in force, but end-products thus generated should be based on different ideas.
Thus, the patent affords the holder the capacity to preclude competition but not the power of monopoly in the abstract, Mr Praveen Raj said.
In order to invent something new and to develop it to a stage that is commercially viable, huge investments in time, money and labour are necessary, in addition to intellectual activity.
But when the invention is revealed to the public domain, the inventor has to contend with threat from rival manufacturers.
The "reverse engineering" bogey is another threat the inventor would have to be wary of.
Thus, it is clear that the return on investments committed is by no means guaranteed.
Nationals of developed countries may take out a patent in a developing country purely to protect the market from rival manufacturers.