What Can Be Patented In India?

Published On: Apr 24, 2023Last Updated: Apr 25, 20235.2 min read

A patent is a licence that gives exclusive ownership right to the inventor of any original invention or innovation. The patent registration process takes up to 2 to 3 years before you receive either grant or refusal of the patent application. The timeline and grant of patent application majorly depend on the patentability of your product. Through this blog, we will focus on what inventions can be patented in India. We also discuss the inventions that do not fall under patentability criteria in India. 

Patents in India 

The Patents Act, 1970 governs all aspects of patents and their protection in India. According to the act, all inventions in a process or a product are not patentable subject matters. There’s a set of conditions for an invention to be a ‘patentable subject matter’. Section 2 of the Act gives various meanings of what can be patented in India. Whereas, Sections 3 and 4 deals with the inventions that are not patentable. Once you check these conditions, you can file a patent application online

Patentable subject matter

The following are the basic patentability criteria:

  1. Novelty; 
  2. Inventive step and non-obviousness; 
  3. Industrial applicability; and 
  4. It does not fall under sections 3 and 4 of the Act.

Your product can be patented in India when it completes all these conditions. Further, the examples below will help you get a better understanding.


Novelty is the first aspect of inventions that can be patented in India. This is pretty simple to understand, any product, process, machine, plant, etc that you make should be a novel item. The term novelty means, any item that has the quality of being new and different. The product or process should be different from all the things that are available in public knowledge, i.e., it should be something new. 

For example, a lighting stick and method of providing a special effect to a traditional dance ,i.e, a dandiya with lights (used in the traditional dance of Garba) is a patentable subject matter. Since, there has been a new addition to the traditional dandiya, adding the novelty of lights. Novel inventions like these can be patented in India. 

Inventive step and Non-obviousness 

Now, we know that only novel inventions can be patented in India. The need of an inventive step and non-obviousness might confuse you a little. But don’t worry. Here’s a simple explanation. An inventive step that you take in any field by creating a new process, product, etc must be so non-obvious that even the people who are skillful in your art/craft, are unable to think of such an inventive step.

For Example, a light bulb being able to emit different shades of light seems an obvious inventive step. However, as per the previous example, a dandiya stick being able to emit lights is pretty inventive as well as non-obvious. Hence, such non-obvious inventions can be patented in India. 

Industrial application

An invention that you create, must have some use in the industry for it to become a patentable subject matter. This means, only if your product has some sort of use for people in any industry in general it can be patented in India. Hence, the product or process should not only be aesthetically pleasant and new, but it should be something that causes the betterment of any process that already exists, or a completely new process. To check whether any product or process can be patented in India, you need to prove it is commercially viable. 

For Example, American Photo Booths Inc. had filed a patent application for Photo Kiosks which allows people to take pictures by putting money in money slots. However, Eastman Kodak Company opposed the grant of this patent. The officer in this case found that the invention was not capable of industrial application, ie., it was not commercially viable. Hence, the examiner revoked the patent application for phot kiosks.

Inventions that cannot get patent protection

Now that we know, when your invention completes the novelty, non-obvious nature, and common use criteria, then it can be patented in India. However, apart from these three conditions, you have to ensure that the application does not fall within the ambit of sections 3 and 4 of the Act. The inventions do not fall under patentable subject matter are:

  • Frivolous inventions; 
  • Any invention that is against the public order, and is capable of harming the environment, any religion or any group of individuals, or the public at large; 
  • Mere scientific discovery, or an abstract theory, that has no physical applicability; 
  • A discovery of any living or non-living object; 
  • A mere discovery of a known substance not increasing the efficacy of that substance; 
  • A substance created merely by mixing two existing substances; 
  • A mere re-arrangement or re-construction of existing devices; 
  • A method of agriculture or horticulture; 
  • Any process for the treatment of human or animal diseases; 
  • A mathematical or business model, including computer programs; 
  • Works as defined under the Copyrights; 
  • A method of doing any mental work or playing a game;
  • Presentation of information; 
  • Topography of integrated circuits; 
  • An invention made purely from traditionally known components; and
  • Inventions related to atomic energy. 


The various benefits of patent protection is an increase in number of patent applications in India. Besides, it is an expensive process. Hence, the first step after you make your invention is to check whether your product can be patented in India. This blog provides a clear idea of whether your invention is a patentable subject matter. If you face any confusion, the experts at LegalWiz.in are just one click away! Call us today! 

Frequently Asked Questions

No matter how innovative, an idea is not a patentable subject matter. However, you can file a patent application for all novel, non-obvious, and industrially applicable inventions in India, even before the final product is ready, by filing a provisional patent.

In India, a patent is valid for 20 years after the grant. You can also apply for renewal by filing a renewal application along with the prescribed fees.

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Diksha Shastri
About the Author

Diksha Shastri

As a writer, Diksha aims to make complex legal subjects easier to comprehend for all. As a Lawyer, she assists startups with their legal and IPR drafting requirements. To understand and further spread awareness about the startup ecosystem is her motto.

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