Patents – UPSC Prelims

  • A patent is a type of intellectual property right.
  • It is an exclusive right granted by a government to an inventor for a limited, pre-specified time.
  • It provides an enforceable legal right to prevent others from copying the invention.
Types of Patents:
  • Product Patent: No person can manufacture the patented product without the consent of the patent holder even if he/she uses an alternative process.
  • Process Patent: Under this only the process is protected. A person can manufacture the patented product using an alternate process.
Type of regime in India:
  • India moved from product patenting to process patenting in the 1970s. This enabled it to become a significant producer of generic drugs on a global scale.
  • It allowed companies like Cipla to provide Africa with anti-HIV drugs in the 1990s.
  • However, due to obligations arising out of the TRIPS Agreement, it had to amend the Patents Act in 2005. This made a switch to a product patents regime across the pharma, chemicals, and biotech sectors.
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