INVENTIONS CONNECTED WITH COVID-19 – PRECAUTIONS TO BE TAKEN TO PROTECT THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY – Eshwars
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INVENTIONS CONNECTED WITH COVID-19 – PRECAUTIONS TO BE TAKEN TO PROTECT THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

Authored by CS Priyadharshini

The entire world is crippled by Covid-19 and many are grasping at straws to shorten the diagnostic time by way of rapid test diagnostics kits, ventilators and other equipment to handle the scarcity at hospitals and of course a vaccine. To confront these challenging times, many inventors are coming up with novel ideas to address the shortage of medical supplies and also preventive measures.

In this article we address the precautions that an inventor needs to take if he intends to protect the intellectual property associated with his Covid-19 device or vaccine.

Reasons why an invention has to be protected

Any invention adds value to the society by way of introducing advanced domain-specific technology. Once the inventor secures his rights over his invention, he can license it to others so that a larger section of the society benefits from his invention, and he can also realise the monetary value of his contribution to the society at large. This would enable the inventor to make sure that his Covid-19 related invention is used in the way he had thought about it and any suggestion for modification that comes from a third party is also addressed and validated by him.

Precautions to be taken

It is crucial for the inventors to be aware of the strategy to protect their invention before it hits the road. Here are some of the key aspects that are to be studiously followed when an invention is in place but not yet protected.

Do’s:   Once you have an invention that is novel, which is one of the factors that determine the patentability and forms the crux of a patent, it is important that an application for patent is filed which could be either a provisional specification or a complete specification of the invention:

1. Based on the stage the invention is in, the inventor may choose to file any of the following two applications:

a) Provisional Specification: This is filed to secure a priority date for the invention when the invention is still an idea and is in its formative stages. This application should be followed by a complete specification within 12 months of filing of the provisional specification.

b) Complete specification: This is filed when the invention is complete and ready to be used in the industry with its probable variations.

The Indian Patent Office has enabled electronic filing, enabling Patent Attorneys to file the applications online to protect your inventions.

2. After the complete specification is filed with the respective patent office, it is then followed by filing of the application in other countries, if the inventor desires to protect the invention in other countries too.

3. Where the inventor proposes to engage a vendor to provide materials to him for putting together the prototype, it is advised that the inventor enter into a non-disclosure agreement with the proposed vendor and thereafter disclose any details that is to be shared with that vendor.

Don’t’s:

Do not take any of the following action, unless you have at-least filed a provisional specification:

a) Do not rush to publish the details of the invention in any platform whether it is a newspaper, scientific journal, social media or any online portal. This would disqualify the grant of patent as it becomes prior-art.

b) Do not present the invention in any webinar or conference.

c) Do not email details of the invention to others or disclose by other means without a confidentiality agreement in place.

Conclusion:

The above approach will protect the intellectual property of the inventor and when the patent is granted, the inventor will be the exclusive owner of the invention for 20 years.

Since time is of essence in the current scenario, inventions that could help tackle the current situation have to be made use of immediately without delay by ensuring that the invention is first protected, and the patent office makes it possible with having provided online filing of applications.

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