The grant of a patent entails a negative right. It empowers the patent owner to prevent third parties from making, using, selling, offering for sale or importing the subject matter of the patent and prior consent is required from the patent owner to use the invention. Consent is generally granted in the form of a licence. Any instance of using a patented invention without prior permission will attract provisions elucidating patent infringement.
Intellectual property rights operate territorially; that is, an infringement of a patent can only take place in the territory where it was granted. A key issue in an infringement suit is the scope of patent claims.
Patent claims demarcate the boundary of an invention. The scope and terms of claims define the contours of the patented invention, thereby informing others about what should not be done without prior permission from the patent owner.
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Amit Aswal is a patent engineer and heads the patent licensing and infringement unit at Clairvolex Knowledge Processes, a Delhi-based legal outsourcing firm.
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