Global Patent Statistics

Data year – 2016 – Latest available due to collection of data from multiple countries.

Source – World Intellectual Property Indicators 2017. Geneva: World Intellectual Property Organization.

Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual property rights are legal rights which results from intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literary and artistic fields. The Key reason for granting such rights is to promote industrial activity and innovation. It also helps to reward inventors from commercial usage of such property.

Types Of Intellectual Property Rights

  • Patents
  • Trademarks
  • Designs
  • Copyrights
  • Geographical indications

A patent for an innovation, grants an exclusive right to the inventor to prevent others from making, using, importing, selling an invention granted in a patent. Inventions here, relates to a creative idea for a process to of manufacturing a product or for a product itself. An improvement on an existing product may also be patented.

A trademark is used to protect a word, symbol, color or name that is used for the purpose of trading goods. The trademark indicates the source of goods and distinguishes them from the goods of others. E.g. Crocin or Coca-cola. A trademark is like a signature, a way of identifying a product or a company to the rest of the world.

A copyright protects original works of authorship that fall under the categories of literature, drama, musical, painting, sculptures, software etc which can be either in published or unpublished form.

In general, copyright protects the form of expression of the subject whereas patent protects the subject or the idea itself. For example, if someone writes an article on tablet punching machine, the text would be copyrighted, preventing other from copying or selling that text. But for preventing others for making use of that instrument, invention needs to be patented.


Patents are exclusive rights to exclude other from making, using, importing, selling an invention granted in a patent.For an invention to be patented, inventor has to file an application in a prescribed format at appropriate patent office of the government or via PCT.

Patentability Criteria

The conditions for an invention to be patented, includes

  1. Novelty
  2. Inventiveness (Non-obviousness)
  3. Industrial Applicability(Usefulness)
  4. Disclosure of Information
  5. Unity of Invention

Territorial Rights

Patent rights are territorial in nature and are restricted to specific country or region. Inventors or organizations has to file separate patent application is countries or region of commercial interest. Group of patent applications for same invention is different countries may originate from application filed in one country also called priority country. Applications into countries or region should be filed with stipulated time lines. International treaties recognizing priority application in one country for applications into other countries or region are governed by international treaties. It is mainly governed by Paris conventions agreement and Patent co-operation treaty (PCT). All major countries are signatory to these treaties.

Term of a patent

The term of patent protection lasts for 20 years after which the inventions or works they cover is into public domain where they are free for everyone to use. Term of the patent may vary in certain countries. Term of the patent is subject to timely payment of maintenance fees.

Patent drafting

Each patent application contains following sections describing all details related to invention and process of using it.

  1. Title
  2. Abstract
  3. Background
  4. Summary
  5. Description of figure or diagrams
  6. Detailed description
  7. Claims
  8. Diagrams/figures

Patentability or Prior art searches

Prior art is any evidence that your invention is in public domain. It can be in a form of marketed product, published literature, recording and so on. Prior art search is a process of identifying any disclosure before the date of first filing of patent which includes published or unpublished, patent or non-patent literature. These searches are performed before patent filing so as to evaluate feasibility of patent grant. Preferably prior art searches should be performed before starting any research activity.

“Do not disclose any details related to invention before filing of patent. If needed, disclosure should be done only after signing properly drafted non-disclosure agreement.”

Patent opposition

Patent opposition is an application by third party,majorly by competitor, to prevent grant of the patent rights to the pending application under examination (Pre-grant oppositions) orcancel rights of the granted patent (Post-grant oppositions/Revocation).

PCT (Patent co-operation treaty) application and international filing.

PCT (Patent co-operation treaty) application, also known as international filing, is an application which allows filing of patent application into different countries with extended timeline. PCT/international applications are not granted. PCT applications are examined for prior art search by international search authority upon request from applicant.

Freedom to operate evaluation

Patent gives right to prevent others from making, using, selling, importing, offer to sale, etc. Any product placed in the market needs to be evaluated against third party patents and needs to be designed accordingly. Freedom to operate summaries are reports covering evaluation of proposed product against current patent landscape.

Patent Acquisition / Licensing

Patent is a intellectual property rights and it can be acquired, sold or licensed to any person or organization similar to other tangible form properties. Patent licensing is a process of assigning patent right in specific country either exclusively or non-exclusively in return of fixed payment or periodic royalties or both. Rights assigned to single invention is each country are separate rights and person may selectively choose to retain or sell them accordingly.

“Do not disclose any details related to invention before filing of patent. If needed, disclosure should be done only after signing properly drafted non-disclosure agreement.”