Anyone who has put in a lot of creativity, effort to create a piece of art, will naturally want to figure out ways to protect their work of art. Several options exist for the protection of intellectual property, like patent filing.
But is it possible to patent artwork? To answer this, let us first understand how patents are applied.
Patents and Its Requirements
A Patent is a means of protection for intellectual property (IP) of an inventor or a creator. It grants legal rights to the owner of the IP, against unauthorized selling, using, recreating or sharing any of his work for the period of patent. It gives exclusive ownership rights to the owner over the IP. To know more, https://www.ipwatchdog.com/2019/06/26/indias-patent-law-no-model-united-states/id=110727/
Different types of patents exists.
Utility Patents – This is the most common type of patent. It covers all new inventions or significant modifications or improvements of products or processes, having utility.
Design Patent – This offers legal protection for the ornamental design of useful products, such as crockery design.
Plant Patent – This is granted for new plants produced through asexual methods of reproduction.
The creation/invention must satisfy specific requirements for obtaining a patent:
- Novelty – The invention, creation or the method must be novel, which means it should be unique and must not have been created, used or published before.
- Non-Obviousness – The work should not be obvious. It means it should not be one that could be easily predicted by someone who is trained in that art or field.
- Utility – The invention or creation must have a known use.
Can Artwork be Patented?
There are certain categories of inventions/creations that cannot be patented, despite meeting the requirements of a patented.
In India, some forms of literary, musical, artistic or aesthetic creations are not covered under patents. However, there are situations where a work of art could be patented. These situations must be reviewed on a case-to-case basis to see if the conditions of the patent have been met. Hence the question, ‘Can art be patented?’ cannot be responded with a binary yes or no.
In some cases, the final product may not be eligible for patents, but the method or technique adopted to create the piece of art may still be patented if it satisfies the requirements. For example, the type of strokes used in a painting, the medium used for creating a design or the method of fusing materials to create aesthetic creations may be patented if it meets patenting requirements.
It can be a bit overwhelming for the creator to decide if the creation can be patented or not. If in doubt, it is better to take help from legal experts who are specialists in the patent filing process.
Alternatives to Patenting
Patenting requires stringent conditions to be met and can be challenged and invalidated. Because of the uncertainty involved, many creators look for alternate options. On that note, patents are not the only form of protection for intellectual property. Alternatives like copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets can sometimes offer better and longer protection.