Recent times have witnessed a paradigm shift in India towards protection and promotion of intellectual property (IP) rights, and in particular, protection of patents. The start-up boom, the government’s “Make in India” campaign, and judicial intervention in the case of Nitto Denko Corporation v Union of India have all contributed to the passing of the Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2016.
The rules, passed by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, came into effect on 16 May 2016, and specifically address the issue of excessive delays, backlog of applications at the Indian Patent Office, and higher costs in prosecuting applications, especially for new businesses.
To foster innovation and promote investment in India, the rules now specifically recognize start-ups as patent applicants. The rules define a start-up as being any entity working towards innovation, development, deployment or commercialization of new products, processes or services driven by technology or IP, provided not more than five years have elapsed from the date of incorporation of such an entity, and the turnover does not exceed ₹250 million (US$3.7 million) for the said five financial years. Taking into account initial difficulties faced by such businesses, the rules provide for lower fees for prosecuting patent applications filed by such start-ups.
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PRAVIN ANAND is the managing partner of Anand and Anand and GEETANJALI VISVANATHAN is a senior associate at the firm
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