Ever since the coming of the NDA government, the business environment in the country has seen a certain buoyant mood. Many governmental schemes like Make in India, Digital India are doing really well especially because of Prime Minister Modi’s personal interest in all these schemes.
The latest development in this has been the latest move of the government that allows start-ups a speedy and cheaper process for registering patents.
There was a time when start-ups had to wait for a minimum of 5-7 years to get a patent for their company. Under the newly amended patent rules, this is set to become a thing of the past.
The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has notified that the NDA government has opened a special window specifically meant for this process. Via this, the applications will be rerouted to reduce the time to two and a half years at the beginning itself and further will be reduced to one and a half years by March 2018.
A previously missing definition of start-ups has been added to the rules through which the start-ups will be able to enjoy special benefits government has in place in the near future. An application by the name of ‘requesting for examination’ would also be expedited. The faster the applicant replies to the queries, the faster it gets to get patent.
Another amendment under this rule would be the reduction in the cost of applying for patents. The current cost is Rs 1,600 equivalent for an individual person. The fee for request for examination is Rs.4,000. In the new amended rules, start-ups will be treated in the same bracket as an individual. If the start-up wants to speed up its patent application, it has to pay double the fee.
Not only that, start-ups will also be allowed to withdraw their applications at any time during the process without any penalty fee and may also be allowed refund of their application fee in certain cases. There are situations where after pursuing an idea for some time a start-up may lose interest in it, for that too, they can withdraw their application with 90% refund of their original application fee. This is certainly a step in the right direction.
Further, with the new rules in place, start-ups from abroad too can apply for patents in India. However, they must satisfy the definition of a start-up as under the rules framed by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion. As per the updated definition, a start-up should be a company that has been in existence since the last 5 years or less and whose annual turnover is less than 25 crores.
However it must be noted that currently there are nearly 240,000 pending applications with the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion and further around 2 lakh applications waiting in the examination stage, taking up all the applications seems to be a formidable task by all means which may not be a very good news for all start-ups.
But one must not forget that there is an added option of “tatkal” wherein a start-up can expedite its patent registration process by simply paying the double application fee. In such a case, the examination process of such a start-up would be given priority and will be completed on an urgent basis.
Further, such start-ups will also be eligible for an 80% rebate on their patent application as part of the start-up action plan which is expected to further boost domestic filings for patents.
The liability of the patent application, however, similar to all cases will lie with the applicant i.e. the start-up.
Author: This blog is written by Ms. Mrinaal Datt, student of University Institute of Legal Studies, Punjab University, a passionate blogger & intern at Aapka Consultant.