IPR Story 6- Product patent vs Process Patent

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Intelectual Property Rights : Product patents vs process patents

Rahul had just started his M.Pharm Program. He had done a course on IPRs and had some working knowledge of IPRS. He started working on a new molecule on diabetes and worked on its synthesis for nearly six months. One day while searching the patent databases, he got a shock! The molecule he had so diligently worked on had already been synthesized and duly patented. It was not a new molecule at all. He was very disappointed and disillusioned. Anyway, he downloaded the full patent and started reading it. Soon he was smiling again. He went to his guide, they discussed and soon Rahul and his guide had filed a process patent.

What had happened?

Rahul had lost the race for patenting the new molecule, since someone else had filed a patent application earlier. However, in the same application, the process had also been disclosed and duly patented (you can patent a process and product in the same patent, provided both are related). When Rahul read the patent, he found that the synthesis process proposed in the patent was too long and cumbersome- his process in contrast was simple, efficient and much cheaper. Naturally, he smiled. Somebody else had come up with a good molecule, but he had worked out an innovative process, which could make the manufacture of that molecule, much cheaper and faster. Now the question will naturally come to your minds, that since Rahul cannot make the molecule, since patent for the molecule is held by someone else, what use is Rahul's patent? Rahul's patent is very, very important. The company will never want to use an inefficient and cumbersome process, provided that they have access to a better process. Rahul's process was better- chances are that the company which had rights over the molecule, would in-license it from Rahul.

Moral of the story:

Don't be blinded by product, product and only product patents. Process patents too have lot of value!


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Manthan D. Janodia's picture

Dear Sir,
It is a general fallacy among people that once product patent has set in process patent in no longer valid. As i teach IPR in my college and my PhD work is related to study of IPR and Pharmaceutical Industry, i come across many people who believe that with product patents, process patents have ceased to exist.
You have refuted that myth by your IPR story.
However, it would be nice if you could explain the difference between "Process Patent" and "Product Patent" with an example, which would make readers more aware about the real difference between process and product patent.

Manthan D.Janodia

Eswar GsnkRao's picture

Dear Bansal sir,
Me too waiting for Product and Process patents difference as Mr. Janodia mentioned.
eswar :-)