If someone has a startup idea and prototype is ready but they want to know if they can patent it. The business is similar to zomato. Is there any provisional patent available for startups in India and what is the cost for the same?
There is no provisional patent. The Patent application process provides flexibility of filing an initial Provisional Specification application and followed by filing of Complete Specifications application within 12 months of filing of the Provisional Specifications. For Start-ups there is 50% discount on the fee provided by the Govt of India and additionally Expedited Examination of a Startup application for a Patent is available. M Balasubramaniam - IPR Attorney
Yes. A provisional patent application may be filed for the idea to secure the priority date. You will have 12 months of time to convert this provisional application to a complete patent application. If you don't do this within 12 months, your provisional application is treated as abandoned and you will lose the priority date. For a start-up, the government fee for filing a patent application is INR 1600. Within these twelve months you could do a prior art search to see of your invention would be patentable or not. If you get a negative report, you can drop the idea of filing a complete application. This will save you unnecessary costs. If it's positive it's a hurray for you and you can go ahead and file the complete application. Just remember that a provisional application will not give you any patent rights except the right to claim priority.