Intellectual Property and its importance in R&D

Excerpt: DR Kulkarni, a scientist, a PhD from Purdue University, with 11 years of experience in academic research and 32 years in industrial R&D is currently with Aten Consultants, Bangalore.

Dr.Surendra U Kulkarni Talk at ICT

Intellectual Property and its importance in R&D

DR Kulkarni, a scientist, a PhD from Purdue University, with 11 years of experience in academic research and 32 years in industrial R&D is currently with Aten Consultants, Bangalore. He has published 45 research papers in international journals and co- authored 10 US and European Patents. Introducing him, Prof P.M.Bhate of Dyestuff Technology Department said that he was recently conferred with Distinguished Alumnus Award. He spoke on awareness of Intellectual Property Rights, safety and covered salient points like history, definition, domain knowledge and importance in interactive discussion with students and faculty on 21st May 2015 at K.Venkataraman Auditorium.

Dr.Kulkarni described Intellectual Property, why protect IP and how, what can and can't be patented etc. Patent is a legal document and there are clear do's and don'ts. After hiring scientists companies provide them training on safety, IP and compliance. He spoke about what cannot be patented such as parts, claims, and also about documentary invention, filing, inventorship, how to obtain a patent, cost to maintain, when to patent, managing a patent (filing and signing), patent infringement, IP portfolio - strategy of an organisation; how to create IP, rules to maintain a notebook while restricting others from using the benefits, is it a ploy to rich countries or MNCs to prevent others from benefiting out of a scientific invention, documentation, recognition and discrimination etc.

In IP Regime, patent is only one object besides others like copyright, trade mark, industrial design and geographical indication, protection of layout of design of integrated circuits, trade secrets and planned varieties. How can IP be protected? How a patent is managed when a discovery is made and somebody takes the benefit under IP regime. A patent is a right to exclude others from making it i.e. make a discovery, file a patent to prevent others from copying it and avail the benefits of discovery. Protection is for 20 years. Pharma industries find it not sufficient enough from discovery, patenting and drug coming to the market which entails 14 years (now about 8 years). Patent inhibits free exchange of information is a misconception and in reality it is the reverse.

Patent laws require disclosure of structure of invention, how to make, use and the best mode of invention. Patent application is published in 18 months and free to disclose invention any time after application. Basic principle of a patent is a contract between creator and sovereign state and not global or world patent. It is the balance between right of creator to extract the discovery and public interest. IP is a property that arises from the human intellect and a product of human creation. Patent is defined under Venetian Senate Patent Act of 1474. Patent is for economic growth for commercialisation, provide incentives to attract investment. India's share is 1.5% of world market.

Publication vs. Patent: publication is a scholarly publication and in case of patent inventorship it is a matter of law. Conception is paramount and disclosures of ideas are as many as users possible. Trademark is identity like a logo, copyright, literary work, articles such as computer program, artistic work (painting), exception to copy right in work like photocopying, design, geographical indication (Darjeeling tea, Basmati rice, Scotch whisky), trade secret (Coca Cola), and commercial exploitation etc.

Patent is exclusive right granted to an invention (product or process), limited monopoly right as period is 20 years. What can be patented is a new invention, novel, useful, inventive, process or method for manufacture, composition of matter, industrial application.

Grant of a patent: by national patent office; what cannot be patented is a mere idea and discovery unless applicability is established, and atomic energy related areas. 90% of existing patents are improvements to existing patented inventions. Discovery adds to existing knowledge but not patentable while inventions are and value addition entailing a new product.

Dr.Kulkarni concluded with important aspects of patenting that are new, innovative and usefulness illustrating domain knowledge, keeping a notebook for writing findings (e.g. melting point or boiling point etc) on the spot and illustrated some crazy inventions (cortisone used for arthritis cure) procedural involvements with case studies for filing patents and retaining, violation, budgets, expenses, litigations, competition sometimes synergising collaboration like cross licensing etc.

As reported by Dr. K. S. Murthy (Pidilite Industries Ltd)

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