A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted to the innovator to guard his interests for the upcoming two decades or so, when nobody else can copy the product or has to pay royalties to do so. The whole framework behind this was to be sure the innovator gets monitory and first mover advantages for his research and development, to make certain individuals have incentives to do more research and new technologies keep coming in markets for the welfare of humanity. Little did the creator of patents law knew that it will be utilized to hinder the expansion, create monopolies, utilized to backfire/compress or terminate competitors and as a medium to earn riches.
But, it has degraded to a level where a company can just discuss out extra features and file I Want To Patent My Idea for the similar. The end result is most companies earning millions and millions not simply because they manufacture such quality products, simply because these people were the first one to think of a concept. Today’s MNCs don’t shy away in extracting exorbitant amount in royalty fees, licensing fees, court claims and settlements. One particular new product leads to usage of lots of old patents (with their licensing fees) and introduction of two dozen more patents. A patent is not said to be for the way you scroll content upon an iPhone or the quantity of image processors inside a single Kodak camera. Obviously the patent could be for the piece of hardware, the circuit or perhaps the code written. But, if someone else has the capacity to produce similar or better output with their own code, hardware or circuits, that does not make them prone to spend the money for other company.
What the law states firms, not understanding any nuances of technologies, blindly approves patents and creates a ground for patent wars.
Its no surprise to sees the world’s largest and oldest manufacturer Nokia, fighting with new niche premium mobile manufacturer Apple within the patent wars. Nokia sued Apple over usage of signalling techniques, Apple fired back over the utilization of scrollbars and Nokia again filed a whole new lawsuit against Apple’s iPad. The war similar to the situation when Kodak sued Apple and Apple countersued Kodak.
This war is perfect for patents, but, it is not as these companies are hindering innovation or were struggling to recover their research and development charges as a result of other’s patent infringement. This war is entirely according to greed, the greed top earn more and eat each other’s profit share. Finally, the two is going to do an from court agreement, something much like, you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.
Maybe American companies can also study from these MNCs and commence creating a pile of patents. Like that the larger telecoms can just sit back and earn royalties. Poor Bharti Airtel, if Mr. Sunil Mittal had filed Inventhelp Tv Commercial for caller tunes or missed call alert service, Airtel would have crossed all their barriers in terms of growth along with been world’s largest telecom company. On the similar lines, if Infosys had patented its global delivery model, it may have easily axed the competing firms and had ruled the offshore IT business. Regardless how ridiculously stupid the above mentioned ideas appear to be, the US patent history is filled with such applications and many of them are accepted too.
So, whenever we knew the first day day we can not manufacture even board games without having to pay royalties, we might have patented a dice, which has been used and discussed in India since the times during Mahabharata.
What’s urgently required is formation of a good panel which does a comprehensive investigation before approving patent and constantly reviews any approved patent. If the company filing the patent, don’t utilize it within next 3-five years, the patent becomes null and void, if patent seems irrelevant after 3-five-years then it should be discarded. The same should be carried out in case in which the company filing patent has recovered all research and development expenses related to patent and all of past unsuccessful trials and has already made handsome profits with the exact same. When the patent filing company keeps licensing their patents to many other companies, the patent should expire much earlier than the 20 year span. Even when one of the above rules are materialized, the patent market will likely be much more regulated and tznwus won’t be such high exploitation from the Patent My Idea.
So, when RiceTec applied a patent for Basmati rice, the initial question could have been that why they wish to make use of the word Basmati, the premium American and Pakistani rice breed, which is most popular and dear. Another research would have revealed that their genetic breed has qualities of extra long length, width and fragrance which are all linked to the traditional Basmati breed harvested near Himalayas. After such findings, they could have been interrogated on the use of brands ‘Texmati’ and ‘Kasmati’ (name sounding much like Basmati) labeled to deceive buyers. After the entire case was created, the business should have been compelled to stop selling any type of rice altogether.
But, none of the above action points is ever going to be used in a land where any corrupt company can lobby the government ruling the land and force those to add new injunctions in law or amend what the law states in their favor.