Patentability Criteria

The patent is given by the country's sovereign for the invention that the inventor(s) claims, and it grants those individuals territorial rights to bar others from producing, utilising, selling, proposing to sell, or importing that invention. Every country has its own standards for evaluating the innovation in order to receive the issued patent, which is necessary for its enforceability. The standard evaluation criteria for inventions often include novelty, inventive step or non-obviousness, and industrial applicability.

What is Patentability Criteria?

A patent is a type of intellectual property (IP) that protects a technological invention. It prohibits unauthorized use of one’s patented product and strictly prohibits commercial transactions of a patented product. Likewise, the inventor or owner is sole authority and free to manufacture, sell, or import innovation in nations where it has a valid patent. One can also trade his or her patent right, for example, by selling it or giving others right to use it or even sell it.

Patentability criteria, on the other hand, is a set of standard or guidelines that determines whether an invention or discovery is eligible for a patent.

Requirement or Principles of Patentability Criteria

To be patented, a product must meet the following characteristics, which also serve as patent law principles in India. They are as follows −

  • It must be a new innovation.

  • An innovative action must be taken.

  • Capable can be applied in industries, or in industrial applications.

  • It could not fall under the limitations or non-patentable topic categories.

The following criteria govern what can be patented in India:

Novelty or Newness

The invention must produce relevant info, a new good or a new method. It shouldn't be implied by a document, an awarded patent, a published patent, non-patent publications, or any other form that has already entered the public domain. It must be distinct from everything that is currently understood. The innovation must not have been previously published. A simple finding, on the other hand, does not constitute an innovation. In the case of Bishwanath Prasad Radhey Shyam v. Hindustan Metal Industries, the two criteria for awarding patents, innovation and usefulness, were acknowledged as crucial (1979). In Gopal Glass Works Ltd. v. Assistant Controller of Patents (2005), it was determined that an innovation must be novel and unique in order to be patented. Novelty is not a full criterion in and of itself. The product or invention must also be sufficiently unique.

Non-obviousness or Inventive Step

The creator must have contributed some original ideas to the innovation. It should be something that an expert in the field would not anticipate. The technical solution offered by the inventor will not be regarded as innovative in nature if the person experienced in the art who is from the same area provides the same answer using his acquired knowledge or by receiving instruction, suggestion, or motivation.

Industrial Application

Patents are issued to guarantee that the creator may freely use his or her innovation without worrying regarding rivalry. It is essential that the invention in this situation be useful and have industrial applications. An item or process based on an innovation must be produced or used.

Non-patentable Inventions

Sections 3 & 4 of the Indian Patents Act of 1970 contain a list of patentable innovations. They are as follows −

  • Frivolous or fraudulent inventions.

  • An innovation that breaches public morals or poses a significant harm to human, animal, or plant life.

  • The finding of an abstract scientific idea or hypothesis.

  • Simply finding a new chemical.

  • A simple arrangement, re-arrangement, or copying of existing information or equipment constitutes an innovation.

  • An agricultural or horticultural approach.

  • Any medical, therapeutic, surgical, diagnostic, or curative procedure performed on humans, animals, or plants.

  • A mathematical, commercial, or algorithmic approach.

  • Any work of literature, drama, or art.

  • Any information or procedure presentation.

  • An innovation brought about through the replication of conventional knowledge.

Legal Requirement for Patentability as per WIPO

The requirements for acquiring a patent differ depending on the country. There can be no general set of standards in this respect; however, WIPO specifies certain key elements that must be achieved in order to get a patent. They are as follows −

  • The criterion of invention must be met by the invention for which a patent is requested. It must not be related to any prior art and be novel in any technological sector.

  • It must be original and involve some unique steps. It must be such that it cannot be determined by an average individual with ordinary ability.

  • It must be used in industry or have an industrial use.

  • The invention's subject matter must be one of the things that can be patentable.

  • All of the facts and specifics of the invention must be given in full detail when the application to get a patent is submitted.


The awarded patent involves several reviews and approvals. Any government analyses the claim of invention in regard to its own existing laws, regulations, or standards. To prevent the Patent Office from refusing a prepared patent application, it is worth trying and adhering to the country-specific patentability criteria. As long as it doesn’t fall within the group of non-patentable innovations, any innovation that leads to the formation of a completely new good or service or the manufacture of an already-existing good using new techniques and technology could be patented. The Indian Patents Act, 1970, which was updated twice—in 2002 and 2005—is the law that governs patents in India. A few conditions for patents must be satisfied in order to receive a patent for an innovation. Novelty or newness, usability or usefulness (capable of industrial use), and non-obviousness are the three key characteristics. However, there are several grounds on which a patent application might be denied.


Q1. What is the procedure to obtain a patent in India?

Ans. The following steps are included in the patent application process in India:

  • Submission of a patent application, including specifics and a thorough description of the invention.

  • The application is published and examined.

  • If any grounds for refusal are found, the application will be denied and the patent will not be awarded.

  • If there is no objection, the applicant will be given a patent.

Q2. What inventions are patentable?

Ans. A patentable invention falls into one of four categories: a machine, such as a computer or appliance; a process or method, which is a method of producing something; an article of manufacture, which is new material created by combining other materials; or a composition of matter, which is a chemical combination that produces new material.

Q3. Who can apply for the patents?

Ans. According to Section 6 of the Act, the application may be submitted by:

  • Anyone claiming to be the true and first inventor of a product;

  • Someone claiming to be the true and first inventor's assignee;

  • A decedent's legal representative who had the right to submit such an application before his or her passing.

Updated on: 20-Feb-2023


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