Are Rajinikanth’s methods patentable?
Let us begin with the basics. As per the Indian Patents Act, any process or product is patentable if it meets all patentability requirements. All methods are therefore patentable unless they are expressly excluded under Section 3, which provides a list of non-patentable inventions. Non patentable methods include medical methods, business methods and so on.
Now, moving to the Super Star, Rajinikanth. All of us, who watch south Indian movies know him very well. He is a great entertainer and has more than one trick up his sleeve in every movie. His tricks range from lighting a cigarette in the air
to swirling his glares before wearing them. Let us consider the process of lighting a cigarette in the air for our analysis purposes. In one embodiment, his process includes the following steps:
holding the cigarette between index and middle finger;
Tossing the cigarette in the air at a ninety degree angle;
Lighting a match stick; and
Throwing the match at an angle of impact on the tip of the cigarette.
Each step of course has multiple embodiments. Such a method would definitely be patentable if the angles can be pre-determined along with time. However, if the said method is dependant on mental steps or requires a person to exercise his mind in order to get the right angle to light the cigarette, the process will be hit by the mental steps doctrine, which will preclude patentability.
This process is no different than a method of performing yoga or massaging and is not expressly excluded from patentable subject matter. It may be argued by some people that such an invention does not satisfy industrial applicability requirement, especially with respect to repeatability by a person with ordinary skill, but the art can definitely be mastered with practice. Repeatability is ofcourse not a problem for some one like Rajinikanth, who is a perfectionist.
Any thoughts …?
Authored by: Dr. Kalyan C. Kankanala