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Types of patents in intellectual property rights

Intellectual property rights (IPR) are unquestionably vital legal safeguards that creators and inventors are granted to protect their inventions. These rights give creators complete control over how their work is used and distributed, enabling them to profit from their creations and preventing unauthorized use by other people.

Different forms of creativity and innovation are protected by various forms of intellectual property rights, such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, geographical indications, and others. A person who owns intellectual property has the only right to use what they have created, meaning that others cannot duplicate or use it without the owner’s prior consent. We will continue to talk about what patents are and the various types of patents further in this article.


Indeed, as technology advances at a rapid pace, new inventions emerge all the time and become a part of our daily lives. To encourage innovation and guarantee that inventors can profit from their creations, these inventions must be protected. In India, the Patents Act of 1970 establishes the framework for the protection of invention.

The primary legislation governing patents in India is the Patents Act, 1970. It describes how patents are obtained, what rights are granted to patent holders, and what restrictions and exclusions apply to those rights. The Act seeks to achieve a balance between protecting the public interest and giving inventors limited exclusive rights.


The Latin word “patene,” which means “to open,” is where the word “patent” originated. Legally speaking, a patent is an exclusive right granted to the inventor of a new and practical invention for a predetermined period in exchange for the inventor disclosing the invention.

The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) defines a patent as, “an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides, in general, a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem”.

A patent is a type of legal compensation that promotes the advancement of technology and industry. The Supreme Court ruled in the significant case of M/s. Biswanath Prasad Radhey Shyam v. Hindustan Metal Industries that, “The object of patent law is to encourage scientific research, new technological and industrial progress. Grant of exclusive privilege to own, use, or sell the method or the product patented for a limited period, stimulates new inventions of commercial utility. The price of the grant of the monopoly is the disclosure of the invention at the Patent Office, which after expiry of the fixed period of the monopoly, passes into the public domain”.

The grant of monopoly rights to an inventor encourages him to pursue research and development more and more. A country’s economic prosperity is largely dependent on research and development in the field of industrial enterprise.

Types of patents

Various kinds of patents are granted under The Patents Act, of 1970

  1. Utility Patents

    Utility patents, which cover a wide range of inventions that spur development and innovation across numerous industries, are the cornerstone of intellectual property protection. These patents are essential for protecting innovative and practical devices, machinery, manufactured goods, material compositions, and any novel advancements made therein. Utility patents give inventors the exclusive right to their inventions by emphasizing their functional aspects. This allows the inventors to bar anyone from using, producing, importing, or selling the patented invention without their consent for a set amount of time.

    This exclusivity creates a competitive atmosphere that motivates innovators to spend money on R&D, which results in improvements in manufacturing techniques, scientific discoveries, and technology. Furthermore, by encouraging innovation, drawing capital, and advancing the commercialization of novel goods and technologies, utility patents support economic expansion. Inventors can fully realize the commercial potential of their inventions and benefit society as a whole by disseminating new and improved products and processes, all thanks to the protection provided by utility patents.

  2. Design Patents

    With a particular focus on ornamental features, design patents are essential for safeguarding the visual and aesthetic aspects of inventions. Design patents give inventors the exclusive right to stop others from copying or making similar products by protecting a product’s distinctive visual appearance, shape, configuration, or surface ornamentation. This protection is especially important for businesses like consumer goods, furniture, jewelry, fashion accessories, and electronics where a product’s look has a big impact on how successful it is in the marketplace.

    By preventing unauthorized copying or infringement of distinctive designs, design patents not only foster innovation and creativity in product design but also advance fair competition. They also give designers and businesses the ability to stand out from the competition, improve brand recognition, and keep a competitive edge in their respective markets. In general, design patents support innovation, intellectual property rights protection, and the advancement of design aesthetics in a number of economic sectors.

  3. Plant Patents

    Plant patents are necessary to safeguard unique and novel plant varieties that have been produced through asexual reproduction and to make sure that the work of researchers and breeders is properly acknowledged. Unlike patents on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or naturally occurring plants, these patents cover plants created through techniques like grafting, budding, or other forms of asexual reproduction. Plant patents encourage investment in agricultural research and plant breeding programs by giving the inventor exclusive rights.

    This promotes innovation in crop development, horticulture, and landscaping. This safeguard encourages the commercialization of new and improved plant varieties by giving inventors control over the propagation, use, sale, and distribution of the patented plant variety. Plant patents are essential for maintaining food security, biodiversity preservation, and sustainable agriculture because they encourage the creation and spread of improved plant varieties with higher yields, pest and disease resistance, and other desirable characteristics. In general, plant patents promote global food production, environmental sustainability, the protection of plant breeders’ rights, and the advancement of agricultural science.

  4. Pharmaceutical and Chemical Patents

    Patents about pharmaceuticals and chemicals play a crucial role in promoting innovation and development in these sectors by protecting a broad range of inventions that enhance healthcare and advance technology. These patents cover inventions pertaining to chemical compositions, pharmaceutical compounds, drug manufacturing processes, and treatment methodologies. Pharmaceutical and chemical patents encourage research and development efforts aimed at finding new medications, formulations, and manufacturing techniques by granting inventors the exclusive right to their inventions.

    This legal protection promotes competition among pharmaceutical and chemical companies, which in turn leads to the development of safer, more effective, and more reasonably priced medications. It also encourages investment in novel therapies and technologies. Additionally, patents related to chemicals and pharmaceuticals make it easier for new discoveries to be commercialized, allowing businesses to recover their costs and make the money needed for additional R&D. In the end, society as a whole benefits from these patents because they advance healthcare, enhance patient outcomes, and address unmet medical needs.

  5. Software and Business Method Patents

    A wide range of inventions that support economic growth and technological advancement are protected by software and business method patents, which are essential for promoting innovation and advancing the technology and business sectors. Innovations in computer software, algorithms, computer-implemented processes, and other software-related technologies are protected by software patents. By giving inventors the exclusive right to their creations, these patents encourage investment in software development and stimulate the development of new and improved software systems, applications, and products. Furthermore, software patents encourage cooperation and competition in the technology sector, fostering additional innovation and raising the caliber of software solutions that are offered to consumers.

    Similarly, business method patents grant inventors the exclusive right to their creative business processes while safeguarding innovative business or commercial activity methods. These patents are essential for fostering entrepreneurship because they stimulate the creation of novel business plans, tactics, and procedures that boost output, profitability, and market competitiveness. These patents encourage investment in new projects, boost economic growth, and create a dynamic business environment that is supportive of innovation and entrepreneurship by safeguarding business methods.


In conclusion, the different kinds of patents—such as software, business method, utility, design, plant, pharmaceutical, and chemical, and software patents—combine to provide the foundation of intellectual property protection and promote advancement in a wide range of sectors. These patents are essential for stimulating R&D, attracting capital for innovative products and methods, and fostering competitiveness and economic expansion.

Patents ensure that ingenuity and creativity are properly rewarded while also promoting knowledge dissemination and the advancement of society at large by giving inventors exclusive rights to their inventions. Strong patent protection is crucial because it fosters innovation, entrepreneurship, and sustainable development in a world that is becoming progressively more interconnected by the day.

Also Read: 
Rights of undertrial prisoners in India
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Kritika Bhusari
Kritika Bhusari
A Law Graduate, transforming complex legal concepts into clear, concise and reader-friendly content.


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