It is a fact that anything unique, useful and innovative has the potential to create a monopoly in the market. However, to encourage fair competition & provide the owner with an opportunity to earn, the patent law is created.

Patents are exclusive rights that are bestowed upon the innovator or the original owner of an invention for a limited amount of time. This law is for them to make, use, manufacture and market the invention, provided the invention satisfies certain conditions stipulated in the law. 

Patent registration is the way through which a rightful owner can exploit the exclusive rights over the innovation for 20 years make money out of it. Be it in the manufacturing industries or the service industries patent registration in India can prove to be a boon for the owner. Once it is registered it becomes an asset whose value will increase according to its demand in the market. However, upon the completion of 20 years, the patent automatically is produced out in the public domain and is accessible to all.

The key factors that determine if your invention is patentable or not are:

Novelty

The primary requirement is that the invention should be novel and not be a part of any “prior art”.

Inventiveness (Non-obviousness)

The product should not be obvious; it should not be of such nature that a layman can come up with the same product or invention by combining the teachings of different documents that are available to the public.

Inventive step

It should have some sort of technological advancement and an inventive step that adds to the existing knowledge which makes the invention not obvious to any person skilled in the art.

Utility/Industrial Application

The invention must be useful in some industries; it cannot be a mere model. An invention is certified for patentability if it can be:

  • Manufactured
  • Used in at least one field of activity
  • Reproduced with the same features/properties as many times as necessary.

The patent Registration process in India

1. Patent Search

The initial step in the patent registration process before you apply for it is to conduct a patentability search. It is a standard process to conduct a prior art search to confirm the originality and novelty of the invention. Patent registration is a costly affair, thus this step plays a very significant role in ensuring the applicant’s investment in the application would not go in vain. If this step is neglected and the applicant files the application there is a high possibility of there being a prior art because of which the patent will not be granted and the applicant would lose his/her money

2. Drafting 

A patent is a techno legal document. It lays down the technicalities of the invention and defines the rights. 

The patent specifications can be of 2 types:

  • Provisional specification
  • Complete specification

It is necessary to file the provisional specification to secure a priority date. This document defines the basic details about the invention and does not include the claims of the applicant. The claims defined in the complete specification specifies the detail of invention, claims, area of invention, and the method to perform an invention.

3. Patent Filing 

Here the complete application is filed with the patent registry. If only the provisional specification is filed then it is mandatory to file the complete specification within 12 months and not doing so may abandon the application.

Here is a basic fee structure that gives you a better idea about the cost of online patent registration & physical application:

The prescribed fees under different heads are given below:

(a) E-filing

Particulars Individual Small Entity Other than Small Entity
For Filing Patent Application ₹1600 ₹4000 ₹8000
For each sheet of Specification in addition to 30 pages ₹160 ₹400 ₹800
For each claim in addition to 10 claim ₹320 ₹800 ₹1600

(b) Physical Filing 

Particulars Individual Small Entity Other than Small Entity
For Filing Patent Application  ₹1760 ₹4400 ₹8800
For each sheet of Specification in addition to 30 pages  ₹176 ₹440 ₹880
For each claim in addition to 10 claim  ₹352 ₹880 ₹1760

For a more detailed fee structure click here

4. Journal Publication

Upon filing the application, the same will be published in the patent journal after the expiry of 18 months from the priority date or filing date. It will have the title, basic abstract explaining what the patent is for, application no and details about the applicant or inventor. After publication, there is a waiting period which is a part of the patent registration process in case someone wants to oppose it.

5. Pre grant opposition

Before the patent is granted, anyone can file for the opposition as per Section 25(1) of the Patent (Amendment) Act 2005.

Some of the grounds under which the patent might be opposed are:

  • Prior publication
  • Prior public use and prior public knowledge
  • Obviousness and lack of inventive step
  • Non-patentability
  • Insufficiency and clarity of description
  • Wrongfully claiming the priority
  • Patent application not filed within 12 months of filing the first application in a convention country
  • Nondisclosure/ wrong mention of the source of biological material
  • Invention anticipated concerning traditional knowledge of any community, anywhere in the world.
  • Regard to traditional knowledge of any community, anywhere in the world.

6. Patent examination

Patent examination is a crucial step in the patent registration process. Once the application is published the next step that follows is patent examination. It is not a free or an automatic process. The patent applicant must request for examination within 48 months from the date of filing of the application or the priority date whichever is earlier.

The examiner prepares the examination report. The report includes all the objections and similar prior arts relevant to the invention which are filtered by conducting a patent search.  The detailed first examination report is sent to the applicant with the patent application and specifications within six months from the date of publication or from the date of the request for examination.

The report can be either in favour of the applicant or against it. If it’s favorable then the applicant has to go ahead and put the application for the grant within 12 months. In case of an adverse report, the applicant gets an opportunity to respond to the objections and amend the application by disclaimer, correction or explanation where required to overcome the objections. Or the applicant may also request for a hearing within 1 month from the date of receiving the examination report to explain the reasons for non-acceptance of objections to the examiner.

7. Grant

The patent is granted if it fulfills all the requirements and is in sync with the patent law. It would be valid for 20 years. In the case of PCT national phase applications, the term of 20 years begins from the international filing date.

Patent registration has a significant role in helping startups and businesses to secure their inventions and enjoy exclusive rights. It strengthens the market position of the company or the inventor and his/her products.  This way the owner can avail high returns on the investments and a chance to eventually earn from it by selling or licensing it to a third party. The patent registration process has become much streamlined and it has led to an influx of new startups embracing the registration path at the early stages of invention development; as patent filing not only increases the credibility when they scale but also boosts investor support.