Patent vs. Publication: Navigating the Paths of Innovation



In the realm of innovation and intellectual property, there are two main ways to spread new ideas and discoveries: publications and patents. They both contribute to development of technology and knowledge vastly; however, they are purposed distinctly and therefore done differently. To safeguard their concepts as well as communicate them people who invent, investigate or do business have to realize how these two methods differ from each other.

Patents: Protecting Intellectual Property

Patents grant exclusive rights to an inventor to protect the invention for a specific period of 20 years from the date of filing. The grant of a patent bars others from manufacturing, selling, utilizing, licensing, distributing or importing the invention without the inventor’s consent . This exclusivity allows the inventors to commercialize their inventions, regain research and development expenditure and gain a temporary monopoly in the market. Patents can be granted to any article, apparatus or machinery and also to any process of manufacturing. The three basic criteria for granting a patent to an invention are novelty, inventive step and capable of industrial application.

Patent vs Publication

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The Patent Process

The process of obtaining a patent involves several steps:

1. Invention Disclosure: The inventor prepares a detailed disclosure of an invention including its working and applications. The Invention Disclosure Form is a confidential document, that includes the details of an invention.

2. Patentability Search: An extensive patentability search is conducted to determine the patentable nature of the invention i.e., to check whether the invention is patentable or not over prior art. The prior art can include existing patent applications, granted patents and non-patent literature.

3. Patent Drafting: The patent drafting process involves preparing a detailed description of the invention along with legal claims that defines the scope of the invention. The draft includes title of the invention, field to which the invention belongs, background, objects, summary, brief description of drawings, detailed description, claims and abstract . A well-drafted patent application increases the chances of a patent grant.

4. Patent Filing: The patent application is filed with the relevant patent office, such as the Indian Patent Office, United States Patent and Trademark Office, European Patent Office and others. The patent filing involves submitting various forms along with the patent draft and pay the prescribed fees.

5. Examination: The patent application is examined by an examiner to determine whether the invention is patentable by ensuring the invention meets the patentability criteria. During this process, the patent examiner can have multiple back and forth interaction with the inventor to clarify details or make amendments, until the patent is accepted or rejected. The patent examiner might also search existing technologies and analyse the invention to check for patentability.

6. Grant of Patent: If the invention and patent application meet all the criteria and requirements, a patent may be granted. If not, the application is rejected.

Benefits of Patents

1. Exclusive Rights: Patents give an exclusive right to the invention thereby providing a competitive edge.

2. Monetization: Inventors can sell their patents or license to others, creating revenue.

3. Legal Protection: Patents provide legal resource against infringements or unauthorized use.

4. Innovation: Patents can lead to economic growth by promoting development of new products.

Publications: Sharing Knowledge

Publications encompass dissemination of research findings, theories, and ideas through various media including academic journals, conferences, books, and online platforms. The primary goal of publication is to share knowledge, facilitate collaboration, and contribute towards the collective understanding of a specific discipline.

The Publication Process

The process of publishing research involves several steps:

1. Preparing a manuscript: researchers conduct experiments, investigation or analysis of data to arrive at new insights or new knowledge. The experiments and results are transformed into a research paper, documenting the methodology, materials, analysis, results and inferences .

2. Submission to a journal: The researchers choose a suitable journal according to their research area and follow the submission guidelines to submit the prepared manuscript for possible publication.

3. Peer Review: The submitted manuscript undergoes peer review conducted by experts in the relevant field. The reviewer evaluates for originality of research work, validity of results and significance of the work in the related field. Based on the feedback after evaluation by the reviewers, the manuscript may need revisions or may need additional information and the manuscript can be resubmitted after incorporating the necessary changes.

4. Acceptance: If the manuscript is accepted for publication, the researcher is notified and the manuscript goes for final editing, proofreading and formatting prior to publication.

5. Publication: The accepted and formatted manuscript is published in the journal making it accessible to the academic community and to the general public.

Benefits of Publications

1. Knowledge Sharing: Publications a research paper can contribute to advancement of knowledge and understanding specific technology or innovations by sharing the knowledge.

2. Professional Recognition: Publishing a research paper in reputed journal can lead to professional appreciation and prestige within and outside the academic community.

3. Collaboration: Sharing research through journal publications can promote collaboration and exchange of ideas with other researchers and institutions.

4. Citations and Impact: Citations by other researchers in the field can increase impact and visibility of the research opening opportunities for funding and other engagements.

Patent vs. Publication: Key Differences





Aims to protect intellectual property and grants exclusive rights to commercialize invention.

Aims to share knowledge and contribute to academic and scientific community.


Require legal and technical expertise for filing and grant of a patent.

Written by researchers and involves peer review process for assessing the quality.


Patent grants exclusivity preventing others from using the invention without permission.

Share the information to other researchers openly and others can build upon the research find


Offers protection for 20 years

Remains in academic record indefinitely

Strategic Considerations

Deciding whether to pursue a patent or publication depends on several factors, including the nature of the invention, the inventor's goals, and the potential impact.

When to Patent

• If the invention has significant commercialization potential.

• If the inventor wants to prevent others from exploiting their invention.

When to Publish

• If the researcher’s goal is to gain recognition and contribute to academic community.

• If the research has propositions for health and safety, publication makes the information widely accessible.

Why researchers prefer Publication over Patent?

There are several reasons why researchers choose to publish and not patent, mainly because of lack of awareness regarding the patent application process. Generally, publishing a research work is emphasized by universities and other research institutions as it gives more visibility among the academic community. Publications are necessary for career development, funding, and collaborations. Other reasons may be cost factor, absence of IP cell in universities, need of professional help and extended periods before grant. In contrast, publication of research articles aligns with the academic principles of knowledge sharing, leading to societal impact .


Patents and publications are necessary for innovations, each assisting in exceptional and harmonizing roles. Patents protect and monetize inventions, providing inventors with the motivation to innovate, while publications spread knowledge, encouraging collaboration and advancement of science. By understanding the distinction and tactical uses of patents and publications, inventors and researchers can navigate the innovation ecosystem effectively, maximizing the impact of their work.

Author : Neha Vivek A, in case of any query, contact us at Global Patent Filing or write back us via email at


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