• Law – Patents Act, 1970; amended in 2006
  • Relevant Ministry – Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and industry

A patent is a legal right that confers monopoly to a person for his/her invention.

According to the Patents Act, 1970, an ‘invention’ must fulfill three criteria: first, it must be a new product or a process that did not previously exist; second, it must offer a new technical improvement as simple changes to a previously known technique cannot be patented; third, the proposed invention must be useful. For instance, a patent cannot be granted for inventions that can only be used for an illegal or immoral purpose.

Once a product or process is patented, it cannot be commercially produced, distributed, used, or sold without the consent of the patent owner. 

India grants patent rights on a first-to-apply basis. The application for a patent can be made by either: (i) the inventor or (ii) the assignee or legal representative of the inventor.

Patent application may also be made jointly by two or more corporations as assignees. A foreign national resident can also apply and obtain a patent in India.

Patent registration procedure

  • File the patent application and get it numbered.
  • Request for publication by filing a form. If the request is not made, the patent specification will be published in the official journal after 18 months from the application date. On the other hand, by making request, patent specification can be published within one month from filing the form.
  • Request for examination within 48 months from the date of filing of the patent application. Request for expedited examination of patent application can be made by paying extra fee.
  • Within 12 – 24 months of filing a request for examination, the first examination report is issued. This report may raise substantive and procedural objections regarding the patent.
  • If objections are raised, the patent applicant must comply with the statement of objections within six months from the date of the report.
  • If the official objections are met in due period, the patent is granted and presented for opposition.
  • The patent is open for third party opposition, if any, for a period of one year from the date of advertisement.

A patent once granted is valid for 20 years, and requires renewal every year from the third year of the date of application

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