We have a hunger of the mind which asks for knowledge of all around us, and the more we gain, the more is our desire; the more we see, the more we are capable of seeing.

Maria Mitchell

History of patent system in India

Patent system in India was first introduced by British in 1856. This was later amended by several times. The Indian Patents and Designs Act, 1911, (Act II of 1911) first enacted under the management of Controller of Patents with a patent term of 14 years. The Patents Act in India was framed after Independence to fulfill the demand of industry and development of country on the basis of the recommendation of the Justice Rajagopal Ayyangar Committee.

The Patents Act (Act 39 Of 1970) came into force on 20th April 1972 . Initially, the Patent Act, 1970, provided a term of 7 years for pharmaceutical, agro chemical and food products and 16 years for other categories. Currently, with the Patents (Amendment) Act 2005 (Act 15 Of 2005 ) and the Patent Rules, 2003 India is granting patents for a term of 20 years from the date of filing and providing product patent as well for pharmaceuticals, agro chemicals and food products.

Current IP Laws in India

Copyright Act of 1957 (Inclusive of amendments upto 1999)
Proposed Amendments to Copyright Act

Intellectual Property Rights (Imported Goods) Enforcement Rules, 2007

The Designs Act, 2000
The Design (Amendment) Rules, 2008

Geographical Indications
Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999
Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Rules, 2002

Information Technology
The Information Technology Act, 2000
The Information Technology Rules, 2000
Cyber Regulations Appellate Tribunal (Procedure) Rules, 2000

The Patents Act, 1970
The Patents (Amendment) Act, 1999
The Patents (Amendment) Act, 2002
The Patents (Amendment) Act, 2005
The Patents Rules, 2003
The Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2005
The Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2006

Plant Varieties Protection and Farmers' Rights Act, 2001

Semiconductor and Integrated Circuits
Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout Design Act 2000
Rules for the Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout Design Act 2000

The Trade Marks Act, 1999
The Trade Marks Rules, 2002

India – Convention and Treaty

  • Berne Convention (Literary and Artistic Works), with effect from April 1, 1928
  • Geneva Convention (Unauthorized Duplication of Phonograms), with effect from February 12, 1975 .
  • World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), with effect from May 1, 1975
  • Nairobi Treaty (Olympic Symbol), with effect from October 19, 1983
  • Convention on biological diversity, with effect from February 18, 1994
  • World Trade Organization (WTO) Member and Signatory to TRIPS Agreement, with effect from January 1, 1995
  • Paris Convention, with effect from December 7, 1998
  • Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), with effect from December 7, 1998
  • Budapest Treaty (for deposition of microorganisms), with effect from December 17, 2001

Patent Offices in India

Office Address
Kolkata, Head Office The Patent Office, Intellectual Property Office Building , CP-2 Sector V, Salt Lake City ,Kolkata-700091
Delhi , Branch Office The Patent Office,Intellectual Property Office Building ,Plot No. 32, Sector 14, Dwarka, New Delhi-110075
Mumbai, Branch Office Patent Office Boudhik Sampada Bhawan, S.M.Road, Near Antop Hill Post Office, Antop Hill, MumbaiI - 400 037
Chennai, Branch Office The Patent Office,Intellectual Property Office Building , G.S.T. Road , Guindy, Chennai-600032

Current Statistics in India

  • The Indian Patent Office has 134 Examiners, 31 Assistant Controllers, 4 Deputy Controllers, 1 Controller General, and 1 Senior Joint Controller.
  • There are 1192 registered patent agents in India .
  • 35, 067 patent applications had been filed in the year (2007-08).
  • Only 20% out of the above applications have been filed by the Indian citizens.
  • 15, 262 patents had been granted in the year (2007-08).
  • Top patent filer at Indian Patent Office is Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) among the Indian as well as foreign organizations.
  • Top patent filer at Indian Patent Office is Qualcomm among the foreign organizations.
  • Top patent filer among the Indian Pharmaceuticals companies is Ranbaxy Laboratories; among the Indian IT or software companies its Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

Salient Features of Indian Patent System

  • "Invention" means a new product or process involving inventive step and capable of industrial application
  • Invention would not be considered novel if it is used or published in India or elsewhere before the date of filing/priority.
  • The term of every patent granted is 20 years from date of filing.
  • Depositing of biological materials mentioned in the specification at the time of filing is mandatory.
  • The source of Geographical origin of the biological material used in invention is required to be disclosed in the specification.
  • Every provisional application is accompanied by a complete specification within 12 months from the date of filing of the provisional application.
  • Except where an early request for publication has been made, every patent will be published just after 18 months from the date of filing/priority and will be open for public on payment of fee prescribed.
  • First Examination Report will be issued only after filing a request for examination [within 48 months from the date of filing/priority]
  • Provision for filing request for examination by any other interested person (other than applicant) also has been introduced.
  • Non-extendible time for putting the application in order for grant is 12 months from the date of issue of First Examination Report.
  • Provision for the withdrawal of application by applicant any time before grant has been introduced.
  • Provision of Pre-grant and Post-grant opposition has been introduced, where a pre-grant opposition can be filed by any person before the grant of patent, a post-grant opposition can be filed by any interested person after the grant of patent but before the expiry of 1 year.
  • Without written permission no person resident in India can apply for a patent outside India .
  • A patent of addition can be filed anytime during the term of main patent whereas a divisional patent is to be filed before the grant of patent.
  • A patent can be challenged and revoked anytime after the grant of patent on a petition of any interested person or Central Government by the Appellate Board or on a counter-claim in a suit for infringement of the patent by the High Court.
  • Compulsory license can be granted to any interested person after the expiration of 3 years from the date of grant for non-working, unreasonable price and fail to fulfill the demand of patented invention.
  • Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) has now been constituted to hear appeals against the decisions of the Controller under the Patents Act, 1970.
  • Unauthorized claim of patent rights shall be punishable with fine upto one lakh rupees.
  • Practice by non-registered patent agents shall be punishable with fine upto five lakh rupees.
  • India is now recognized as an International Searching Authority (ISA) and an International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA).
  • Facility for e-filing of patent has been launched.
  • Public search for 18 months publication and granted patents are available from the official website.

Useful Links


IP Glossary Points to consider

  • Do not disclose or use your invention before filing the application.
  • Conduct a prior art search before filing the application.
  • As quickly as possible, file a Provisional Application before the Complete Specification.
  • Disclose each and every portion of your invention in the complete specification.
  • Start marketing just after the filing of patent application.
  • Evaluate potential of your invention.
  • Understand the technology involved and its point of difference with the existing one.
  • Identify and understand the Marketplace - both domestic and foreign.
  • Identify likely infringers, competitors, licensing possibilities.
  • Prepare a budget to include likely Patents Costs, present & future.