PATENT - THE AUTOCRAT
The very utterance of the word patent frightens us with the sheer complexity and wordplay it can subsume us with. Here is an attempt to demystify patents and the world of legal wrangling. As the lexicon definition goes, it is “the exclusive right granted by a government to an inventor to manufacture, or sell an invention for a certain number of years”. However, over the years, as patents and workarounds have evolved, companies have gone out of their ways to exercise monopoly over innovation and prevent competition from innovating in a related area of research and development.
In the US, the International Trade Commission is the disinterested body which oversees trade ...view middle of the document...
Did previous works serve as sources of inspiration or were these sources shamelessly duplicated in the new design could become the focal point of many a legal debate. Last but not the least, the patent has to serve a use which may sound inane, but is a requirement nonetheless.
Companies also create a set of claims for their respective products which are in turn more descriptive and exhaustive. These claims are protected by law and present a set of facts which accurately depict and disclose the working of the product even at its grass root level. They serve as a testament to the veracity of innovation achieved as claimed by such innovators. The claims can either be independent or non-independent. Independent claims tend to be broader as they are mostly laid down by pioneers in the respective fields of research and are efforts based on little or no pre-existing work. Non-independent claims are based on previous work and more likely to be performance or process improvements and tend to be narrower.
In the event of a legal tussle between organizations, it can become extremely difficult to qualify the exact reason for the fight. Compounding the situation further is the intricate procedure and multiple hearings the legal case has to go through before a final decision is arrived at. The prosecutor submits an infringement report to which the defendant retorts by filing a rebuttal report. The two parties hire lawyers and consultants to defend their respective stands. There are also fact witnesses who could provide defining information which could tilt the scales of the verdict towards a party.
In the now famous case of Apple vs. Samsung, there has been continuous warring between both the sides with each accusing the other of infringing their respective patents. Nonetheless, an interesting point to note is how both these companies have been ‘acquiring’ patents to safeguard their stockpile of innovations. Apple sued Samsung...