IP FACILITATION PROGRAMMES, SCHEMES, AND POLICIES IN INDIA
India has the third largest start-up ecosystem in the world with 2-3 start-ups being born every day. With the Startup India initiative launched in 2016, to build a robust ecosystem for nurturing entrepreneurship, a host of benefits have been provided to encourage the growth and development of start-ups in India. These benefits include facilitation programmes to help the start-ups secure their intellectual property rights. Apart from start-ups, assistance and monetary rebates with respect to protection of intellectual property rights are also provided to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Educational Institutions, Government Bodies, etc. The importance of these programmes and schemes lies in igniting the spirit in the homegrown industries and market players to innovate and incentivise their efforts.
A few schemes and policies initiated by the Government of India to promote the creation and protection of different kinds of IPs by the people of India are as follows:
SCHEMES AND FACILITATION INITIATIVES
1. Scheme for Facilitating Start-Ups Intellectual Property Protection (SIPP)
SIPP is directed at promoting awareness and protection of intellectual property rights amongst start-ups. The scheme is aimed at providing quality IP services to start-ups to incentivise them to innovate and commercialize their intellectual property. Under this scheme IP services are provided by facilitators empanelled by the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks (CGPDTM). A facilitator under the Scheme maybe a trademark or a patent agent registered with the CGPDTM, an Advocate as defined under The Advocates Act, 1961 or any government department/organization/agency as notified.
The scheme was initially run on a trial basis but has now been extended till March 31, 2023. Under the scheme, the start-ups are only required to pay the statutory fee for registering a patent, trademark, or a design and the facilitators are reimbursed directly by the office of the CGPDTM and disbursed by the respective IP offices.
The fees fixed (in INR) under the Scheme for the facilitators is as follows:
2. Building Awareness on Intellectual Property Rights for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)
Under this scheme, MSMEs are provided financial assistance to register their patent, GI, and trademark. Further, financial aid is also provided for setting up IP facilitation centres in the country.
The maximum grant provided under the scheme for registering various IPs is as follows:
3. IPR Facilitation Services by the CII
Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), a non-profit industry association in India, has been at the forefront of facilitating awareness and providing facilities for protection of IPRs amongst the industrial community. The CII has set up several IPR facilitation centres such as the one in Hyderabad, Tamil Nadu Technology Development & Promotion Centre (TNTDPC) in Chennai, Gujarat Knowledge Application & Facilitation Centre (GKAFC) in Gujarat, and Intellectual Property Facilitation Centre’s (IPFCs) in Indore, Gandhinagar and Mysore. Its centre in Hyderabad has facilitated in filing of more than 28 GIs and has to its credit the facilitation of the first GI being granted in the textile industry for Pochampally ikkat.
4. Patent Facilitation Centres (DST)
The Department of Science and Technology (DST) set up the Patent Facilitation Centre (PFC) in 1995 as a unit of the Technology, Forecasting, and Assessment Council (TIFAC) and subsequently 24 other Patent Information Centres under the PFP were set-up with the aim of creating awareness and providing assistance in protection of IPRs. The PFC helps in filing and prosecuting patent applications in India and abroad on behalf of academic institutions and government R&D institutes. The PFC has also aided in establishing IPR Cells in several universities to lend a helping hand to the academicians in conducting patent searches, drafting patent applications, etc. The patent applications are drafted and filed by the patent attorneys on the panel and the costs for filing the applications are borne by the DST.
From the year 2016 till 2018, the PFC has facilitated in filing of 98 patent applications, on behalf of renowned academic institutions such as IITs, University of Calcutta, Delhi, Mumbai, etc., of which 59 have been granted a patent.
5. Intellectual Property Facilitation Centre (NRDC)
The Intellectual Property Facilitation Centre (IPFC) is a joint venture of National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) and Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MoMSME) with an aim to promote protection of IPRs amongst the MSMEs and provide high quality IP related assistance. IPFC also organises training sessions on specific themes related to IP. Further, the IPFC provides the following services with respect to different IPs:
Patent: Pre filing services, prior art searches, advice on examination reports, post grant support, patent valuation, etc.;
Copyright, Trademark, Designs, GI: Guidance and assistance in preparation of the required documents for filing the Applications.
6. Biotechnology Patent Facilitation Cell (Department of Biotechnology)
The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) established the Biotechnology Patent Facilitation Cell (BPFC) in 1999 with a view to provide one body for awareness as well as a facilitation mechanism for Intellectual Property Rights amongst the scientists and researchers. The BPFC aims to create awareness amongst the biologists and biotechnologists regarding patents, facilitating filing of Indian as well as foreign patent applications, etc. As per the policy of (DBT) all patent applications filed by DBT will be in the name of DBT and the host institution, however DBT will not accrue any financial benefits from the patent.
7. IPR division of DeitY
Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) has a dedicated IPR division with the objective of creating and promoting IPR awareness in the field of Information and Communication technology. DeitY provides facilitation support for filing patents, copyrights, trademarks and design applications to its R&D societies and institutions that have executed R&D projects using DeitY’s grants. DeitY has assisted in filing 248 patent applications of which 65 have been granted a patent and filing of 168 trademark applications of which 117 have been registered.
8. SIP-EIT Support for International Patent Protection in Electronics & IT
SIP-EIT is a scheme initiated by DeitY for providing monetary aid to start-ups and MSMEs in order to brace their competitiveness by encouraging inventiveness and its protection. The scheme aims at providing financial aid of upto INR 15 Lakh per invention or 50% of the expenses incurred in international patent filing for inventions in the field of Information, Communication or Electronics sector.
9. Intellectual Property Facilitation Cell (Ministry of Defence and Department of Defence production)
Intellectual Property Facilitation Cell (IPFC) was set up to formulate a comprehensive policy for creation and management IP in the Indian Defence Sector. The main objectives of IPFC are to create awareness amongst the personnel of Defence Public Sector Undertakings and Ordnance Factories including their sub-vendors; stimulate and promote creation of IP Assets during design/ development/ manufacturing of new products or improvements in the indigenization of components; management of IP rights by commercialization of IPRs, strengthening the mechanism for combating IPR infringements.
10. Intellectual Property Facilitation Centre (IPFACE)
Venture Center supported by the Ministry of MSMEs and National Chemical Laboratory, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, India started the project IPFACE for entrepreneurs and MSMEs. IPFACE provides cost effective advisory services to MSMEs relating to filings of all kinds of IPs. Till 2019, IPFACE has assisted in 152 patent filings, 126 trademark filings, 26 design registrations and 25 copyright registrations.
As can be derived from above, the various schemes and IP facilitation bodies are an indica of the identification of the growth of IP awareness and proper guidance in IPR protection in India. With these policies, schemes, and facilitation bodies, India is looking to be at the forefront of IP protection and promote development of homegrown technologies.
The article was originally published on www.lexology.com on September 22, 2020 and can be accessed here.