New Delhi, September 5, 2017

More domestic and foreign startups will now be able to access the fast-track mechanism for filing patents, which will drastically cut down the time taken to obtain these rights.

The government has introduced a more liberal definition for startups to ensure that many more of them can become eligible for benefits, including lower fees, under the latest patent framework.

Under the new definition, any entity in India recognised as a startup by the competent authority under the Startup India initiative will be eligible. In order to encourage patent filing, the government has amended the Patent Rules 2003. The rules notified on September 2, will allow startups to avail of a rebate in patent fees.

“A foreign entity, fulfilling the criteria for turnover and period of incorporation or registration as per Startup India Initiative” would be extended the patent filing benefits meant for startups, according to the notification.

Over the past year, the definition of startups, as notified by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, has been refined to include changes such as the inclusion of job opportunities as an important criterion. Startups were earlier defined as companies that are only five years old with a maximum turnover of Rs 25 crore per year and working towards innovation.

With the rules revised, startups will be eligible for an 80% rebate on patent fees. The DIPP will bear the facilitation cost on behalf of startups and provide rebates in the statutory fee for the filing of applications.

For the expedited patent registration, the startups have to pay double the fees against thrice the amount for other companies. Under the faster clearance route, the application fee for individuals and startups is Rs 8,000, while for established and older companies it is about Rs 60,000. To avail of intellectual property rights-related benefits, a startup is required to obtain a Certificate of Recognition from DIPP.

The amended rules seek to cut the time taken for granting patents to two-and-a-half years from five to seven years immediately and to one-and-a-half years by March 2018.

[The Economic Times]