The commercial exploitation of a patent is not mandatory in any patent law jurisdiction. But if you wait too long, someone else will capitalize on a similar idea and capture your niche invention. On the other hand, if your invention is the first of its kind, the market might not be ready and you will have to fight an uphill battle to carve out a place for your product. The grant of a patent acts as a trigger to increase the likelihood of manufacturing activity.
One thing, however, is certain, the existence of a patent would make the patentee confident that they would be able to prevent infringement and that future revenue streams would remain protected. It also serves as a warning to others to desist from copying as the law is stringent and, at times, levies heavy punitive damages on the infringers. A patent is not mandatory for commercialization of an invention. Nevertheless, millions of patent applications are filed every year.
According to a Forbes report, out of the 2.1 million active US patents hardly 5% have reached the market. About 90% of the patents fail to be commercialized or find angel investors or licensees. These unlicensed patents include over 50,000 high-quality patented inventions belonging to universities. Similarly, in India, no more than 5% of patents reach the market.
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DPS Parmar is a special counsel with LexOrbis’s IPAB practice group.
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