The patent system

The patent system thus embodies a carefully crafted bargain for encouraging the creation and disclosure of new useful and non-obvious advances in technology and design, in return for the exclusive right to practice the invention for a number of years. The inventor may keep his invention secret and reap its fruits indefinitely. In consideration of its disclosure and the consequent benefit to the community, the patent is granted. An exclusive enjoyment is guaranteed him for 17 years, but upon the expiration of that period, the knowledge of the invention inures to the people, who are thus enabled to practice it and profit by its use. (G.R. No. 174379, August 31, 2016 and G.R. No. 148222, Aug 15, 2003)

The patent law has a three-fold purpose: first, patent law seeks to foster and reward invention; second, it promotes disclosures of inventions to stimulate further innovation and to permit the public to practice the invention once the patent expires; third, the stringent requirements for patent protection seek to ensure that ideas in the public domain remain there for the free use of the public.

It is only after an exhaustive examination by the patent office that a patent is issued. Such an in-depth investigation is required because in rewarding a useful invention, the rights and welfare of the community must be fairly dealt with and effectively guarded. To that end, the prerequisites to obtaining a patent are strictly observed and when a patent is issued, the limitations on its exercise are equally strictly enforced. To begin with, a genuine invention or discovery must be demonstrated lest in the constant demand for new appliances, the heavy hand of tribute be laid on each slight technological advance in art.

There is no such scrutiny in the case of copyrights nor any notice published before its grant to the effect that a person is claiming the creation of a work. The law confers the copyright from the moment of creation20 and the copyright certificate is issued upon registration with the National Library of a sworn ex-parte claim of creation. (G.R. No. 174379, August 31, 2016 and G.R. No. 148222, Aug 15, 2003)