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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Fast-track Patent Registration in India

India wants to establish itself as a patent registration hub, such that the startups from anywhere can register here. Towards this end, the Government has implemented a lot of intellectual property related proposals laid out in the Startup India Action Plan (Read here). The proposals now have a concrete structure in the form of the Patent (Amendment) Rules, 2016. These Rules aim at lower costs and faster turnarounds. 
For the first time, the definition of startups has been introduced, taking the number of possible types of applicants to four – individuals, small entities, other than small entities, and startups. The Government is extending the benefits under the Startup Intellectual Property Protection (SIPP) scheme and the startups must satisfy the eligibility criteria.

Irrespective of the category, you can submit applications either online or offline (physically). Visit patent e-filling portal. Statutory fee has been slashed by almost 80% for eligible new businesses, bringing them at par with individuals. The patent filing fee for individuals & startups, small entities, and others is INR 1,600/4,000/8,000 for online mode (INR 1,750/4,400/8,800 for offline mode). The new Rules also provide for expedited route (Rule 24C) with application fee of INR 8,000/25,000/60,000. All categories of applicants need to file the expedited application online, i.e. there is no provision of physical filing if you want faster processing of your patent request. The overall processing time is expected to reduce from 4-5 years to about 1.5 years in normal cases. If you have already filed application under the regular route, you can convert it into the fast-track mode by paying some additional fee (INR 4,000/15,000/40,000). Now, the withdrawal of an application will not attract any fee. In addition, up to 90% of the original application fee will be refunded.

If you are a startup covered under SIPP, there is more good news. Your complete process will be managed by an approved facilitator (Grab the complete list), who will assist you at every stage. If you are unable to pick the right facilitator, contact the Head Office in your jurisdiction and they will provide three name choices for you to select from. The facilitator’s service fee will be paid by the Government.

The patent specification (description of your innovation) can be filed in two ways. First, submit the detailed specification in one step. Second, file a provisional specification first and follow it up with the detailed one within the prescribed time limit. Keep in mind that the Indian patent regime follows the “first to file” system. That is, in case of competing applications the one filed earlier will have the preference. Therefore, the second alternative will be practical in cases where the detailed application is expected to be more time consuming.

A complete specification comprises the following details:
  • Field of the invention and its proposed use (Rule 13(7)(a))
  • Existing art that comes closest to the proposed innovation and improvements the new art will bring
  • Objects of the invention
  • Summary of the invention
  • Detailed description of the invention
  • Drawings (Rule 15)
  • Abstract for technical details (Rule 13(7))
  • Best Method (Section 10)
  • Claims (Section 10(4)(c))

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