The Patent Act has a set of exceptions stated in Section 3 by which certain things cannot be protected by the law. One very unique provision is embodied in Section 3, clause (d).
This provision prevents patenting of minor improvements in chemical and pharmaceutical entities unless the invention results in the enhancement of known efficacy of that substance.
This prevents patenting of mere discovery of any new property or new use for a known substance or of the mere use of a known process, machine or apparatus.
This provision is a safeguard for public health purposes and sets a higher threshold which has been interpreted as therapeutic efficacy for the grant of a patent on pharmaceuticals.
A patent in an exclusive right granted by a country to the owner of an invention to make, use, manufacture and market the invention, provided the invention satisfies certain conditions stipulated in the law. Exclusivity of right implies that no one else can make, use, manufacture or market the invention without the consent of the patent holder. This right is available only for a limited period of time. However, the use or exploitation of a patent may be affected by other laws of the country which has awarded the patent.
These laws may relate to health, safety, food, security etc. Further, existing patents in similar area may also come in the way. A patent in the law is a property right and hence, can be gifted, inherited, assigned, sold or licensed. As the right is conferred by the State, it can be revoked by the State under very special circumstances even if the patent has been sold or licensed or manufactured or marketed in the meantime. The patent right is territorial in nature and inventors/their assignees will have to file separate patent applications in countries of their interest, along with necessary fees, for obtaining patents in those countries.