Patent not only depicts a symbiotic relationship between technology and life sciences, but are characterized by following properties legally.
Patent is an intangible asset. As per the dictionary meaning of intangible asset, anything whose physical presence can’t be felt is called intangible. Patent a product of intellect of any person which when put in use can be felt physically, however, we can’t touch intellectual property in any other manner. Interestingly, an intangible asset can be a definite or indefinite asset. Properties like patent with specific life span are definite assets; however, the name of the company will stay with the company till the time it is operating and is considered indefinite asset.
If we look at it patents don’t offer absolute ownership to the assignee or the inventor. The Patents Act provides that the grant of a patent confers upon a patent holder the exclusive right to exploit, or to authorize another person to exploit, an invention during the patent term. ‘Exploit’ is defined in the Act to include:
(a) where the invention is a product—make, hire, sell or otherwise dispose of the product, offer to make, sell, hire, or otherwise dispose of it, use or import it, or keep it for the purpose of doing any of those things; or
(b) where the invention is a method or process—use the method or process or do any act mentioned in (a) in respect of a product resulting from such use.
However, if the owner of the patent wishes to convert his invention to a product and sell it he still needs to satisfy other legal conditions. For example, a patent on chemical component for a medicine does not by itself allow the owner to produce medicine and sell it. He needs to take permission from legal body monitoring production and sell of medicines in a nation.
A patent posses properties of both movable and immovable assets according to law. Immovable assets are restricted by geography/ jurisdiction and cannot be modified/ destroyed/ demolished without the permission of the owner. While, a movable asset is a private property that can be moved from one place to other. Hence, patent falls in between movable and immovable assets.