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Government amends patent laws to introduce fast track ‘tatkal’ option for patent registration

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Registering for patents in India has traditionally been a painfully long and tedious process negatively influencing new innovations and inventors in India. To improve the situation, the government has amended existing patent laws and introduced several measures to make patent registration fast and cheaper for individuals as well as companies.

Under new laws, the government will offer a ‘Tatkal’ like window which will allow startups and companies to request fast examination of their patent applications.

At present, a separate request for examination has to be submitted with the patent application after which it usually takes 5-7 years to get the patent examined. The government aims to bring down this time to 2-3 years immediately and eventually to 1-1.5 years by March 2018.

The fast track option for ‘expedited examination’ will be available on the condition that applicants have chosen India as the competent International Searching Authority or International Preliminary Examining Authority in the corresponding international application, and that they have filed their applications first in India.

This is to reduce the number of patent applications which are first filed in other countries and later moved to India.

“The move is aimed at popularising 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, DIPP.

This option will only be available to new applicants as well as startups which fulfill the definition of a startup in the Patent laws. The startup, defined as an entity with turnover less than 25 crores, will be able to enjoy the benefits in terms of patent charges given by individuals.

Startups and individuals will have to pay Rs 8,000 for the ‘tatkal route’. The fees for small firms will be Rs.25,000 whereas large companies will need to pay Rs.60,000 to avail this facility.

India has over 2.37000 patents which are pending to be approved out of which many may not be commercially viable but are not withdrawn due to charges associated with it.

Keeping in mind the same, the new patent laws also allow patent applications to be withdrawn from the registration process without any charges.

Commenting on the same, Aggarwal said,

“This will help unclog the queue as a lot of applicants do not withdraw a patent despite knowing the application is not commercially viable, solely because of the charges involved.”

In addition to above, latest amendments have also taken care of patent disputes and have limited the number of adjournments in court regarding a patent dispute to two times with a maximum period of 30 days each.

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