What is a Patent of Addition?

After filing an invention, there is a high chance of an improvement or modification. It is a natural process that the Inventor may make some improvements or modifications to his old invention, which can be the result of feedback received by the industry when he introduces his product in the market. In cases where the invention is already following the process to file a patent application or such invention has been granted, the applicant can protect his modification or such improvement over his main intervention by filing a patent of addition. 

What is a Patent of Addition (POA)?

A patent of addition is a part of the main invention which has been already filed in the patent office. It is referred to as a tool which protects the product or process along with new improvements or modifications done in old products or processes filed by the applicant. 

Section 54 of the Patents Act of 1970 deals with the POA. This section helps the applicant file a patent of addition for any modification or improvement done in the complete specification of many inventions. 

History of Patent of Addition

The Patents Act of 1970 is based on the maximum recommendations made by the Justice N Rajagopala Ayyanger committee, which is also known as the Ayyangar Committee. The committee has suggested adding a provision of POA, which was in line with section 26 of the UK Patents Act of 1949.  The main purpose of adding the patent of addition was to provide a way for applicants to rectify or fix their original patent applications. This would allow the applicants to cover the improvement and modifications to their main intervention, which was not covered previously in the main invention.

Key features of a patent of addition

There are some key features of a POA which provide the value and help the patent to secure his invention with the help of the patent office. These key features are.

Improved and modified invention

The patent of addition covers and modification or improvement to an existing patent article. this improvement or modification could be a new feature function or any new applications of the original invention.

Linked with the main intention

The POA is directly linked with the main invention, which is already filed by the patent. It means this modification or improvement cannot be granted independently because it is dependent on the main intervention. 

Same applicants

The POA is typically granted to the same applicant or owner of the main intervention. In simple words, only the true honours of the main intervention can file the improvement or modification for such an invention.

Shorter term 

The term of the patent of addition is equal to the term of the original patent. Because the term of patent of addition is counted from the day when the main invention was filed. For example, if you have filed the main invention in 2015, and now file a POA for the same invention in 2024, then the term of this patent of addition will be counted from 2015 due to the link with the main intervention. 

Fees and Maintenance

As per section 55 of the Patent Act of 1970, there shall be no renewal fees for the patent of addition because it is linked with the main invention. so there are no maintenance fees for the improvement or modification of the main invention. You just need to file the patent in addition to paying the filing fees, which is 1600 Rupees for a natural person.

Scope of protection

It should be kept in mind that the patent of addition will only protect the improvement and modification covered in the complete specification filed for the POA, it does not protect the entire main invention. 

Filing requirements

If you are going to file a patent for addition, then you must file a complete specification, which specifically identifies that this is the patent of addition of the main invention and describes the new improvement and modification done by the Inventor. You need to mention the patent number or patent application number in your complete specification while filing the patent for improvement or modification.

Licensing and commercialisation

The license for the POA can be given independently from the original patent. It can provide additional flexibility in how the invention is brought to market.

Convert into an independent patent

If by any chance, your main intervention is revoked by the patent office, then you can request the controller to make your patent an additional and independent patent for the remaining period of such patent. But if your modification or improvement becomes an independent patent, then you have to pay the renewal fees for the remaining period. 

Grant before the main invention

The modification or improvement in a patent cannot be granted before the grant of the main intervention. It means if you have filed a patent for an invention, which is not been granted yet, And you have filed a patent for an addition for the same invention. In that case, the POA cannot be granted before the grant of the main intervention.

These are the key features of the patent of addition, which help the applicant to secure his improvement or modification by taking the help of the patent office. 

Novelty and Inventive steps

As per section 56 of the patent act, the patent of addition cannot be invalidated or revoked by the patent office only on the ground that the invention claimed in the complete specification of the POA does not involve an inventive step given the original invention filed by the same applicant. 

In the case of Ravi Kamal Bali vs. Kala Tech and others

The defendant argues that a patent of addition can only be granted if it has the inventive steps over the main invention. The Bombay High Court ordered on 12th February 2008 by dismissing the defendant’s argument and ordered that the disclosure given in the main patent application shall be considered for determining the novelty of the POA. 

Term of the patent of addition

Section 55 of the act says that the term of a patent of addition shall be equal to the main invention, and it shall remain in force as long as the main application is enforced. Once the main application expires, the POA will also expire on the same date.

FAQs related to Patent of Addition

What is the purpose of a patent of addition?

The original purpose of a POA is to allow the applicant to protect the new improvements or modifications made by him in the existing filed invention.

How does a patent of addition differ from a regular patent?

it is dependent upon the original or main invention, whereas irregular patents stand alone and independent. Also, the term of the POA is generally shorter than the regular patent. 

What are the benefits of filing a patent of addition?

The benefits of a POA is the cost, faster protection, and extended exclusivity for the main invention. it expands the scope of the existing invention and excludes others from making similar improvements. 

Conclusion

A patent of addition is one of the best tools to protect the modification or improvement done by the applicant in his original invention. The applicant can generate income by protecting these modifications or improvements by selling such inventions in the market. The patentee does not need to pay any renewal fees for such a POA, which is also beneficial for the patentee and makes the POA a cost-effective tool for inventors and patent owners to protect the improvement and modifications in the existing patents. 

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