International Patent Protection Scheme for MSMEs
International Patent Protection Scheme for MSMEs
The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has recently introduced a scheme called “Support for International Patent Protection in Electronics and IT”. Under the International Patent Protection Scheme, reimbursement of upto Rs.15 lakhs or 50% of total expense incurred for international patent filing is provided by the Government. In this article, we look at the International Patent Protection Scheme for MSMEs in detail.
Support for International Patent Protection in Electronics and IT
Support for International Patent Protection in Electronics & IT is a subsidy scheme for MSME and Technology Startup. The scheme is promoted by the Department of Electronics & Information Technology (DeitY). Under the scheme, MSMEs and start-ups can avail financial assistance for international patent filing. By funding patent registration expenses, the Ministry hopes to support innovation and recognize the value of global Intellectual Property assets. Support for International Patent Protection scheme will be valid for a period of 5 years until 30.11.2019.
Amount of Subsidy for Patent Filing
Under the Support for International Patent Protection scheme, reimbursement of expenses incurred for patent filing and processing is provided. The total amount of subsidy provided in the form of reimbursement will be limited to 50% of the total expense incurred by the business or a total of Rs.15 lakhs per invention, whichever is lesser.
The following types of expenses incurred for patent filing or patent processing are eligible for reimbursement under the scheme:
- Patent filing
- Patent examination
- Patent processing fees
- Attorney charges
- Patent search
- Patent translation, if required.
The expenses involved in entering the National phase in respect of PCT application would also be part of the expenses. Similarly, expenses involved in filing applications directly in other countries (not through the PCT route) will be part of the above expenses. The expenses incurred subsequent to grant of patent will not be reimbursable
Eligibility Criteria for Patent Subsidy
The eligible applicants for Support for International Patent Protection scheme can be classified under four categories as follows:
- Entities having Udyog Aadhaar or MSME registration.
- Companies registered in India having Udyog Aadhaar or MSME registration.
- Registered STP Unit having MSME or Udyog Aadhaar registraiton.
- Technology incubation enterprise or startups located in an incubation centre/ park and registered as a company.
In addition to the above criteria, the following must be satisfied for availing the subsidy:
- The applicant should have already filed a patent application with complete specification for the said invention with Indian Patent Office or have taken waiver under Section 39 of Indian Patent Act.
- Invention must be in the Electronics/ICT technology domain.
- The application must be accompanied by prior art search report from a reputed agency like ISA for PCT application or a registered IPR attorney firm having an experience of at least 5 years in handling international patent applications or IPFCs set up by Ministry of MSME or Patent Information Centres set up by the Department of Science and Technology.
- The patent applications are to be processed through an Indian patent attorney firm having an experience of at least 5 years in handling international patent applications.
- The applicant can apply for the support at any stage of international patent filing. However, reimbursement will only be applicable to expenditures incurred from the date of acceptance of complete application by DeitY subject to approval of competent authority.
- In respect of ownership of the patent, the application filed in the name of owner may also be considered and the applicant may be asked to assign it to the company after DeitY’s approval to provide support under the subsidy scheme, however the individual at the time of applying under subsidy scheme must be an existing employee or should be in the Board of Directors of the same company on the date the application for international patent is made.
- To disseminate the benefits of the scheme in an equitable manner, only 5 applications per financial year with a total of 25 applications during the scheme period of December 2014 to November 2019 will be considered for reimbursement from a single applicant.
- Options for filing International Patents: The applicant can choose either the PCT route or Paris Convention or can file directly in a foreign country of innovator’s choice after satisfying the requirements of Section 39. However, the applicant needs to furnish justification for the choice of route and of country/countries in which a patent application is filed.
- All application received till date while the scheme is in operation will be also considered for reimbursement subsequent to the closure of the scheme and up to the time the application stands valid for reimbursement.
- One application for foreign filing in all countries for a particular invention will only be considered under the scheme
How to Apply for the International Patent Protection Scheme
Application for support under the International Patent Protection Scheme can be submitted on the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology website. The application must be submitted in the prescribed format with the documents listed below. Once the application is submitted, it will be scrutinized by an in-house and sent with recommendation to an expert group. The applicant is then expected to present the invention to the expert group for consideration. The recommended applications will then be processed at Department of Electronics and Information Technology for approval.
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