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Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2021

  Oct 22, 2021

Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2021

Q What is the context  ?

A Recently, the union government has introduced Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2021 which has reduced the fee for patent filing and prosecution for educational institutions by 80%.

  • It is aimed at promoting innovation and development of new technologies.

Q What can be called as a Patent ?

  • A patent is a form of preservation of intellectual property. It is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides, in general, a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem.
  • To get a patent, technical information about the invention must be disclosed to the public in a patent application.
  • Patentability Criteria for an Invention:
    • It should be novel.
    • Must involve an inventive step (technical advancement)
    • Capable of industrial application
  • Term of Patent:
    • The term of every patent in India is twenty years from the date of filing the patent application, irrespective of whether it is filed with provisional or complete specification.

Q What are some key features of Patents Act, 1970 ?

  • Patents Act, 1970 : This principal law for patenting system in India came into force in the year 1972. It replaced the Indian Patents and Designs Act 1911.
    • The Act was amended by the Patents (Amendment) Act, 2005, wherein product patent was extended to all fields of technology including food, drugs, chemicals and microorganisms.
    • After the amendment, the provisions relating to Exclusive Marketing Rights (EMRs) have been repealed, and a provision for enabling grant of compulsory license has been introduced.
    • The provisions relating to pre-grant and post-grant opposition have also been introduced.

Q What are key features of Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2021 ?

  • Patent Fees for Educational Institutions Reduced:
    • Educational institutions engage in many research activities, where professors and teachers and students generate several new technologies which need to be patented for facilitating commercialization of the same.
    • At the time of applying for patents, the innovators have to apply these patents in the name of the institutions which have to pay fees for large applicants, which are very high and thus work as a disincentive.
    • In this regard and to encourage greater participation of the educational institutions, official fees payable by them in respect of various acts under the Patents Rules, 2003, have been reduced by way of the Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2021.
    • Benefits related to 80% reduced fee for patent filing & prosecution have been extended to all educational institutions.
      • This benefit was earlier available to all recognised educational institutions owned by the government.
  • Extension of Expedited Examination System:
    • The fastest granted patent is the one which was granted in 41 days after filing of such request. This facility of Expedited Examination system was initially provided for patent applications filed by Startups.
    • It has been now extended to 8 more categories of Patent Applicants:
      • SME (Small and Medium Enterprises), Female applicants, Government Departments, Institutions established by a Central, Provincial or State Act, Government Company, an Institution wholly or substantially financed by the Government and applicants under Patents Prosecution Highway.
      • The Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) is a set of initiatives for providing accelerated patent prosecution procedures by sharing information between some patent offices.

Q What is Evergreening of Patent ?

  • Evergreening of Patent: It is a corporate, legal, business, and technological strategy for extending / elongating the term of a granted patent in a jurisdiction that is about to expire, in order to retain royalties from them, by taking out new patents.
    • Section 3(d) of the Indian Patent Act 1970 (amended in 2005) does not allow patents to be granted to inventions involving new forms of a known substance unless it differs significantly in properties with regard to efficacy.
    • This means that the Indian Patent Act does not allow evergreening of patents.

Q What is Compulsory Licencing ?

  • Compulsory Licencing (CL): CL is the grant of permission by the government to entities to use, manufacture, import or sell a patented invention without the patent-owner’s consent. Patents Act in India deals with CL.
    • CL is permitted under the WTO’s TRIPS (IPR) Agreement provided conditions such as ‘national emergencies, other circumstances of extreme urgency and anti-competitive practices’ are fulfilled.