Patenting the Hair Products.

Patenting the Hair Products.

What is a Patent?

An intellectual property right, which grants the owner of an invention, the lawful right to prohibit or limit any other person or entity from using, trading or creating it, is called a patent.
 

In general, patents are given by authorities when the patentees reveal their invention through publication and apply for its patent. Such intellectual property rights give the patentees exclusive rights over the patented article only for a certain time period. The Patents Act, 1970, and the Patent Rules, 2003, governs and administers patents in India.

 

Patenting a Hair Product

Like any other novel and unique invention, even a new hair product could be patented, provided it fulfils a few conditions.

In brief, the hair product must be an original idea, born out of the owner’s intellect, and render a useful purpose in existence, to be eligible for a successful patent.

Once proven these conditions or mandates, the remaining steps are more or less a cakewalk with a prolific attorney.

Although, in reality, many innovators and manufacturers do not go for patenting their innovations because of a major drawback in the midst of the process. It requires the formula or technique of the innovation to be revealed. Hence, for owners who like to preserve the secrecy of their innovation’s creation, it is best to not get it patented.

Nonetheless, a lot of innovators do get their hair products patented, owing to the very reason that such products seem to be quite similar with their competitors’. Therefore, to avoid future conflicts, win credibility of the potential customers and lead the market with legacy, patents are a reliable investment in the hair product industry.

 

Making the Patent Application

Once you have created your hair product, all that is left is to prepare the application for your patent and submit it. Although owners of an invention can apply for a patent on their own, it is widely suggested to appoint an attorney for this process.

Since the application needs to be framed with utmost precision and a prerequisite knowledge of intellectual property rights, going with the expertise of a professional proves to be the best course. This reduces the intricate complexity of the procedure, the burden upon the hair product inventors and helps achieving favorable outcomes.

For a profitable hair product idea turning into a patent, the four criterions are

  1. Novelty

  2. Non-obviousness

  3. Usefulness

  4. Functionality

Passing the test benching on these four conditions, any hair product idea can be converted into a patent. They also pose as the major obstacle when it comes to proving the originality of the product and it not being trivial. These are elaborated upon in the following parts of the article.

 

The Originality of Idea

For any patent, be it of a hair product or other, the subject matter of the idea is patented. Stating differently, the substance or material of a unique idea is protected from unauthorized use with the help of patents as intellectual rights. For this reason, the idea of the product to be patented must be original, and not a one priorly known.

For instance, a manufacturer used the formula of his competitor to make a hair serum, packaged it under his brand name, and traded the serum commercially.

In this case, even though the product of this manufacturer looked unique, it cannot be patented, as the subject matter or the hair serum is not original.

One of the notable points here is that all the ingredients or parts of a product need not be new or unseen before, for a patent. Rather, the combination or arrangement of them should be novel, the one never seen earlier. Consequently, the end product should be original and not what it has been made of.

 

The Non-obviousness of Idea

As the heading itself directs, an idea to be patented should not be an obvious one, which a rational human being could think of in general. Neither idea should be too trivial to be considered or employed. The hair product that is invented must be non-obvious along with being original. It needs to be proven that the hair product idea was not obvious to any other reasonable person in the concerned industry.

As an example, a manufacturer cannot simply change the ratios of ingredients in an existing formula and be granted a patent for that new hair product. That is not a non-obvious idea. Such an idea would very well be apparent to someone with a knowledge of the industry and would not pass the test of non-obviousness.

To sum it up, a hair product idea which is not obvious, not trivial, but reasonably innovative, easily becomes eligible to get a patent for exercising rights over such a product.

 

The Utility of Idea

Next, the hair product must be useful in nature, the one which serves a meaningful purpose to its users. Products which are not useful are rejected for patents as they are no good to be even invented. It must be proven at the time of application for patent, that the product is useful and advantageous to whoever uses it.

For say, if a manufacturer invents a hair care product, which is new and not very obvious, yet it lacks usability significantly, such a product could not be patented. This product would not serve any purpose of being created or invented.

Thus, usefulness of a product is an essential criterion while evaluating a product to be patented. More the product is useful, higher are the chances of it getting patented.

 

The Functionality of Idea

Finally, this condition mandated that the product must be practically functional in delivering the desired or expected results. In other words, the idea of hair products should be functional in reality and not just in theory. An idea that cannot possibly be executed cannot win a patent.

Like a manufacturer invents a new kind of hair shampoo and claims it to be beneficial for faster hair growth. Then, the manufacturer must prove so, failing which they cannot get a patent for that product.

Steps to get Patent

  1. Appoint a lawyer: This is an optional step, as innovators can apply for patents on their own.

  2. Conduct patent research: This search should be thorough in all of its aspects and be sufficient enough.

  3. Make utility patent application: Some innovators also make provisional patent applications before this.

  4. File it with the patent office: It involves submitting the final application for patenting the hair product.

  5. Track the status: Taking follow ups on the application and getting the lawyer to respond to the patent office.

 

Conclusion

As has been apparent throughout the article, a patent comes with advantages and disadvantages of its own. Irrefutably, its related decisions should be taken prudently by innovators. Because on one hand, patents give explicit rights over a product or idea, on another, they also are expensive and cumbersome.

 

Authored by Jiya Khandelwal.