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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 67-69

Patenting pathways: A practical primer

1 Department of Head and Neck Oncology, HCG Cancer Hospital, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Origiin IP Solutions, LLP, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Date of Submission07-Nov-2020
Date of Acceptance09-Nov-2020
Date of Web Publication8-Dec-2020

Correspondence Address:
U S Vishal Rao
Health Care Global Cancer Center, Sampangi Ram Nagar, Bengaluru - 560 027, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jhnps.jhnps_55_20

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Patenting a product may lead to a whole new aspect of the dimension of a process or a product or a service that has never been known before and that becomes an invention. This is important, and whenever something new is added to a preexisting invention, it becomes innovation. In India, there is a Make in India. Therefore, we must have an Invest in India. Similarly, we must also have a Create in India. This is a key principle since at present we are importing the material and assembling it within India. The need of the hour is a massive step toward creating in India.

Keywords: Innovations, intellectual property, invention, patents

How to cite this article:
Vishal Rao U S, Arakeri G, Kar A, Sharma B. Patenting pathways: A practical primer. J Head Neck Physicians Surg 2020;8:67-9

How to cite this URL:
Vishal Rao U S, Arakeri G, Kar A, Sharma B. Patenting pathways: A practical primer. J Head Neck Physicians Surg [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Apr 21];8:67-9. Available from: https://www.jhnps.org/text.asp?2020/8/2/67/302637

  Introduction Top

Creations of brain are classified under the generic term “intellect.” Because these creations invariably possess good commercial value, they are commonly referred to as property. Inventions comprise intellectual property, which can be protected by patents, provided the invention is novel, nonobvious, useful, and enabled. The word patent originates from the Latin word patere which means to lay open. A patent is a document issued by government to the inventor granting permission, following the disclosure of the invention, to exclusively make, use, and sell for a definite period of time. Unlike in the case of patents, inventions are not disclosed under monopolies and exclusively sold.[1],[2]

Patents are designed to protect and encourage creativity and innovation. Patenting a biomedical discovery is a prerequisite for a pharma or a biotech entity investing in the lengthy and expensive clinical testing aimed at patient benefit. Although scientists and clinicians are well versed in research publication requirements, patent descriptions and claims are formatted in a manner quite different from that of a research paper. Patents require (a) a series of logical statements clearly delineating the boundaries of the novel aspects of the invention and (b) sufficient disclosure of the invention so that it can be reproduced by others.

Patents are granted only for inventions that meet the following three conditions: novelty, nonobviousness, and usefulness.[3],[4],[5]

The concept of open innovation has recently gained widespread attention. It has become particularly relevant given that many firms are required to implement open innovation, notwithstanding the various challenges. After providing a definition of open innovation delimiting it from open source, we present an overview of prior research, which identifies the following key topics of earlier open innovation research: technology transactions, user innovation, business models, and innovation markets.[6],[7],[8]

  Patents Act, 1970 Top

In the earlier era, curative medicines were not easily procurable by the Indian public. The major source of these medicines was overseas markets. Consequently, the huge demand for these medicines led to exorbitantly high prices. It was the external law that influenced the local law. Drug prices in India were among the highest in the world. In 1957, the Indian government appointed the Justice Rajagopala Ayyangar Committee to revise the patent law in line with the industrial requirements of the time. The report recommended a process of patenting to enable the medicines to reach even the poor sections of the society. Consequently, the Patents Act, 1970, came into force, which revolutionized the Indian economic system by making available critical medicines at a low price.[1],[9]

Today, we have two key programs running in our country: Make in India and Invest in India. It is time we run another key program: Create in India. Because, yet we import material and assemble it in India, we need to take a decisive step toward self-sufficiency through Create in India.

The honorable Government of India has already taken several proactive steps to make our country aatmnirbhar. Therefore, the transition from Make in India to Create in India is going to be smooth and seamless with ample opportunities waiting to be tapped. In the prevalent climate, both the union government and state government are keen to fund breakthrough innovation and extend all help in filing your patents.

The fundamental question, however, is “Why should we file a patent?” Our responsibility does not end with what we can do within our immediate reach, but it extends to the emergent future. This is precisely why we must change the status quo in all spheres where we can impact lives.

With the rapid change in markets and technologies, firms constantly need to develop new, innovative products, which can be successfully achieved by using technology roadmaps (TRMs). Although they are effective tools for connecting product and technology planning, TRMs generally tend to overstate the qualitative and expert‐dependent knowledge rather than incorporating quantitative and objective information.[10],[11],[12],[13]

This is where the quality factor becomes critical and makes all the difference. Enterprises evaluate intellectual property rights and the quality of patent documents to develop innovative products and discover state-of-the-art technology trends. The product technologies covered by patent claims are protected by law, and the quality of the patent insures against infringement by competitors while increasing the worth of the invention. Thus, patent quality analysis provides a means by which companies determine whether or not to customize and manufacture innovative products.[14],[15],[16]

  Aum Voice Prosthesis: A Classic Case in Point Top

It is elementary to begin any quest for innovation with the most crucial question: how can we address the individual need, since that defines our problem. Only when that question is addressed, we can take the innovation to the masses. And then, we come to the next question: how can that mass eventually become a market? This is exactly what we did during the research of our voice prosthesis.

We defined the problem that fitted one particular patient. Our research showed that 80% of Indian patients do not have paying capacity. After an extensive and painful 2 years of trial and errors, we finally developed a solution in the form of the AUM voice prosthesis and took it to the masses.[17] Likewise, there are many more examples.

  What is Responsible Research and Innovations? Top

This aspect has drawn widespread global attention in countries such as the USA, UK, and Russia. It is called the ethical, social, and legal aspects of innovation. Transitional research from bench to bedside spans, on an average, 17 years. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen that innovation has helped research create a hyperloop for accelerating specialized health care.

As clinicians, this is a phenomenally significant aspect: how to carve a new pathway in the sphere of innovation. From a clinician’s point of view, we need to focus on the bedside-to-bench research to foster disruptive innovation. It is important to build a new generation of doctorpreneurs who can contribute toward creating the clinical scientist and the surgeon–scientist.

Hence, it is important that the medical fraternity as well as nonmedical engineering fraternity of this generation collaborate to create solutions leading to inventions and patents.

This approach, what we call the academia and industry partnership, has certain key advantages. The word “Industry” does not have any kind of negative connotation. To put it simply, we need the industry to sustain academia and vice versa. It is a linked pathway on which research, academia, knowledge, value and market economy, and wealth work hand in hand to complement one another’s efforts. This would bring us to the era of conscious capitalism: of wealth creation coupled with value creation, ambition blessed with purpose, transforming humanity with heart, hands, and heads.

Inventions in health are always two generations behind the industry. In the current generation, the vast potential lies in the areas of digital diagnostics, Internet of Things and clouds, and ultrafast scanners where blocked chains, digital therapy, big data, nano health, artificial intelligence health, hackathons, system learning, and robotics are going to define the future of the health-care industry. It is extremely prudent that doctors play an active role in patenting innovations in these crucial areas.

The typically academic way of looking at this whole jigsaw puzzle is to publish and perish. In stark contrast is the industry scene where publishing an idea without patents will make you perish in no time. In other words, it is elementary that whenever you have an invention or a new idea, you must not publish it until you have patented it. This way, the idea enjoys protection from the law. Nobody can steal it from you. Nobody can plagiarize your idea. There are many patents called utility patents. They cover wide arrays of patents such as design patent, trademark patent, copyrights, know-how, and trade secrets. Then, we can patent for a product or process. It is called functional patent. The way this product appears is called design patent. It falls under the category of nonfunctional product. Trademarks are words or logos associated with the products. Copyrights are basically intellectual property rights for the work of art or literature. Trade secrets are kept under lock and key within a company’s safe, and they are never meant for publishing. Trade secrets can never be patented as they contain sensitive secrets about formulae that go into the making of a flagship product of its company.

  Conclusion Top

It is extremely important to comprehend the typical voyage of ideation to fruition. Ideas, when they occur, are at an evolutionary stage before moving ahead into the streams of various successive stages. One key stage is that of the minimal viable product, also referred to as MVP. While working on the idea toward building a prototype at an evolutionary stage, it is important to study and adhere to the regulatory framework such that we avoid rude shocks at the 11th h, informing us that the idea or prototype cannot be patented following noncompliance. After all the above is ensured, a time span of 1½ year can be availed of, prior to the pregrant opposition and publication, to explore the ways and means of getting the patent through.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


This material has never been published and is not currently under evaluation in any other peer-reviewed publication.

  References Top

Tulasi GK, Rao BS. A detailed study of patent system for protection of inventions. Indian J Pharm Sci 2008;70:547-54.  Back to cited text no. 1
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History of Patent System, India: Intellectual Property India, Ministry of Commerce and Industry; c2004-2008. Available from: http://www.patentoffice.nic.in/ipr/patent/history.htm. [Last accessed on 2020 Nov 09].  Back to cited text no. 2
Mehta H, Tidwell L, Liotta LA. Inventions and Patents: A Practical Tutorial. Molecular Profiling: Springer; 2017. p. 379-97.  Back to cited text no. 3
Gholz CL. A critique of recent opinions in patent interferences. J Pat Trademark Off Soc 2007;89:1-43.  Back to cited text no. 4
Merges RP. The law and economics of employee inventions. Harvard J Law Technol 1999;13:1-53.  Back to cited text no. 5
Lichtenthaler U. Open innovation: Past research, current debates, and future directions. Academy Manag Perspect 2011;25:75-93.  Back to cited text no. 6
Abrahamson E. Management fashion. Academy Manag Rev 1996;21:254-85.  Back to cited text no. 7
Afuah A. Dynamic boundaries of the firm: Are firms better off being vertically integrated in the face of a technological change? Academy Manag J 2001;44:1211-28.  Back to cited text no. 8
Grag RA, editor. The Patents Act. Delhi: Commercial Law Publishers Pvt. Ltd.; 1970.  Back to cited text no. 9
Lee S, Lee S, Seol H, Park Y. Using patent information for designing new product and technology: Keyword based technology roadmapping. R d Manag 2008;38:169-88.  Back to cited text no. 10
Choi Y, Hong S. Qualitative and quantitative analysis of patent data in nanomedicine for bridging the gap between research activities and practical applications. World Patent Information 2020;60:101943. doi:10.1016/j.wpi.2019.101943.  Back to cited text no. 11
Ritala P, Schneider S, Michailova S. Innovation management research methods: Embracing rigor and diversity. R D Manag 2020;50:297-308.  Back to cited text no. 12
Antons D, Grünwald E, Cichy P, Salge TO. The application of text mining methods in innovation research: Current state, evolution patterns, and development priorities. R D Manag 2020;50:329-51.  Back to cited text no. 13
Trappey AJ, Trappey CV, Wu CY, Lin CW. A patent quality analysis for innovative technology and product development. Adv Eng Informat 2012;26:26-34.  Back to cited text no. 14
US Patent Act, Part III. Patents and Protection of Patent Rights. Infringement of Patents, 16. Section 271. Infringement of Patent. Available from: http://www.law.cornell.edu/patent/35uscs271.html [Last accessed on 2020 Oct 22].  Back to cited text no. 15
World Intellectual Property Organization. Availablefrom: http://www.wipo.int/portal/index.html.en). [Last accessed on 2020 Oct 22].  Back to cited text no. 16
Rao VU, Chatterjee S. AUM voice prosthesis: A $1 novel modified tracheo-esophageal voice prosthesis for total laryngectomy patients (TEP). J Clin Oncol 2017;35 Suppl 15:e17549-9.  Back to cited text no. 17


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