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What can be patented and what cannot be patented in India?

A patent is the exclusive intellectual property right to an invention of a technical product or process.  Patent protection means that the invention cannot be commercially made, used, distributed, imported, or sold by others without the patent owner’s consent.

For an idea to be protected within the Patent laws, it is essential that the idea should not be ambiguous and vague. Mere idea cannot be protected but when the idea is concrete with enough specificity and one has a strategy to describe it and its functioning, making it an asset valuable enough to be protected, then such an idea can be protected.

There are various conditions and requirements for an idea or an inventions to be patented under Indian laws.

To get a patent, the person’s invention must meet four requirements:

  • The invention must have a useful purpose.
  • The invention must meet the legal definition of “novel.”
  • The invention can’t be something that anyone could invent.
  • The invention must have a patentable subject matter.

For a product or process to be patentable, it must be:

  • Statutory
  • New
  • Useful
  • Non-obvious

The following can be patented:

  • New products such as toys, appliances, tools, medical devices, pharmaceutical drugs
  • New process, such as a manufacturing process or an industrial method or process
  • Software
  • Business methods
  • Some types of biological materials

The following cannot be patented:

  • A discovery 
  • A scientific theory
  • A mathematical method
  • Literary, dramatic, musical, artistic work, presentation of information
  • Rule/method for performing a mental act
  • Contrary to well established natural laws
  • offensive/immoral behaviour or is contrary to law
  • Plant variety
  • Biological process for the production of animals or plants, not being a microbiological process or the product of such a process
  • Method of treatment of the human or animal body by therapy, or diagnosis practised on human or animal body

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Note: This Post was last updated on January 21, 2023

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