Whether an idea can be patented is a question of debate. To cut it short, mere idea cannot be patented (patent registration in delhi), however, having said that an idea is the most important step towards being able to obtain a patent. There is a very thin line between an idea and an invention because every invention is first an idea which later matures and gets patented if it meets the patentability criteria. Even though idea is first step towards an invention and is of significant importance, there is no monetary value attached to it, as per law.
Mere idea cannot be protected but when the idea is concrete with enough specificity and one has a strategy to describe it and its functioning, there begins the process to an invention and inventions can be patented. An idea itself does not have any monetary value but it is important stage for patent grant. So, first and foremost thing is that an idea has to be protected through Confidentiality/ Non-Disclosure Agreements. Thereafter, inventor needs to work on the idea to obtain an invention (process or a product) which is novelty, non-obviousness and has some industrial applicability.
The ideal way to cover the journey of idea to an invention which can be patented is to identify a problem, formulate the idea and then work towards finding a solution in form of a process or product. When an invention has enough specificity, inventor may choose to file the patent application with provisional specification and thereafter under Indian Patent Laws applicant has twelve months’ time to file the complete specification. Filing patent application at a right time is highly important as Indian Patent Law recognizes first to file principle.
In the nutshell, mere idea cannot be protected but an idea along with right strategy to work towards finding a solution to obtain a valuable asset in form of a process or product can ultimately be protected as a Patent.