Home » Are Arms and Ammunition Patentable? | IP Conversations

Are Arms and Ammunition Patentable? | IP Conversations

Guns and other firearms are certainly inventions which require a lot of intellectual input and effort. However, the patentability of such arms and ammunition is not simple.

Read this IP Conversation to find out!

Hey IP Geek. 

I heard that guns and other projectile weapons are not patentable in India. Can you tell me why this is the case?

Innovation is involved in the creation of arms and ammunition. These products are also frequently bought at high prices from the manufacturers, especially by defense contractors and national armies.

But just because something is innovative and economically feasible, it doesn’t mean it is patentable.

Section 3 (b) of the Patents Act states that any invention which can cause harm to public morality or order in society cannot receive a patent. And there are multiple reasons why arms end up on that list.

Firstly, it is to discourage people from innovating on destructive machinery, since that machinery can be detrimental or at the very least harmful to other people. 

Secondly, it is to prevent a single party from monopolising arms techniques- imagine a war where a new type of missile can’t be used by one party because they lack the patent for it. 

That said, patents are only one aspect of the innovation process- as long as someone out there is willing to buy armaments for a good sum of money, people will be willing to manufacture them. 

And of course, there are other ways of protecting IP, like with trade secrets and know-how. So people can still make guns and other firearms- they just can’t get a patent for it in India.

I see. That does put things into perspective. 

Thanks for letting me know about this, IP Geek!


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