In an effort to nurture innovation in academia, the government has announced an 80% reduction in patent filing and prosecuting charges for educational institutions.
With the amendment, the cost of filings will come down to INR1,600 (USD21) for e-filings and INR1,750 for physical filings from the earlier INR8,000 and INR8,800, respectively. The Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2021, were notified on 23 September. The government had earlier extended similar benefits to homegrown and foreign startups filing patents in India.
It has also taken additional steps to facilitate faster patent filing and approvals, including: Recruiting new examiners; making the process of applying and granting patents fully online; hearing patent cases through video-conferencing; redesigning its website for real-time dissemination of IP information to stakeholders; and introducing a scheme for facilitating startups called Startups Intellectual Property Protection (SIPP), to provide facilitators to patent applicants, the cost of which will be reimbursed.
According to a press release from the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, “The patents rules have been amended in 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2020 to achieve the objective of removing procedural inconsistencies and unnecessary steps in processing of applications thereby to speed up grant/registration and final disposal. By amending the rules, the procedures are made more compact, timebound, user friendly and compatible for e-transactions.”
The government also introduced an expedited examination system where an application for grant of patent will be decided within a year of filing it under the expedited route.
This facility was initially provided for patent applications filed by startups, but has been extended to eight categoriesfrom 17 September 2019. The seven new categories include: SME; female applicants; government departments; institutions established by a central, provincial or state act that is owned or controlled by the government; government company; an institution wholly or substantially financed by the government; and applicants under the Patents Prosecution Highway.
The time for final disposal of patent applications is expected to be reduced to 24-30 months from filing by the end of 2021. The time taken for the examination of patents has come down from an average 72 months in 2015 to 12-30 months at present. The fastest granting of a patent was 41 days after the filing of such a request.
The Business Law Digest is written and researched by Mithun Varkey.