The government has amended rules and introduced several measures including a system similar to ‘tatkal’, to expedite examination of patent applications by start-ups as well as entities choosing India for the first filing of patent. This comes in the backdrop of 2.37 lakh patent applications pending in the country.
The government, incidentally, is aiming to bring down the time period for initial examination of patent applications from the present 5-7 years to 18 months by March 2018. It had also last week announced the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy to push IPRs as a marketable financial asset and economic tool, promote innovation and entrepreneurship/start-ups, while protecting public interest.Expedited examination
Under the ‘tatkal’-like system applicants can opt for the ‘expedited examination’- route on the grounds that they have chosen India as the competent International Searching Authority or International Preliminary Examining Authority in the corresponding international application, and file their applications first in India. The ‘expedited examination’-route is also available to all entities that qualify as a start-up as per the definition for start-up provided in the Patent Rules. The applications for this route have to be filed only electronically. “The move is to popularise India as a patent filing hub so that more companies file applications in India. Now many applications for the initial examination are filed abroad, in places like Europe, the US or Japan," said Rajiv Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion – the nodal government body on most Intellectual Property Rights, including patents.Cost Arbitrage
Under the ‘expedited examination’ route, the fees for individuals and start-ups have been fixed at Rs.8,000, while for small firms it is Rs.25,000 and for large companies, the fee is Rs.60,000.