Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2021 has been notified

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    • Recently, the Centre has notified the amendments to the Patents Rules.
    • Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2021 which will reduce the fee for patent filing and prosecution for educational institutions by 80 per cent.
      • This will promote Innovation and Creativity in a Knowledge-Economy

    Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2021

    • Patent Fees for Educational Institutions has been reduced drastically by 80%.
      • Higher fees have been found as a greater deterrent for educational institutions engaged in R&D activities. 
      • The patent fee has been reduced by amending provisions of Patents Rules, 2003.
      • 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.
    • Expedited Examination System
      • It has provisions for the Augmentation of manpower by recruiting new examiners.
      • The fastest granted patent is the one that was granted 41 days after filing such a 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, 
        • Institutions established by a Provincial or State Act, 
        • Government Company, 
        • an institution wholly or substantially financed by the Government and 
        • Applicants under Patents Prosecution Highway.

    Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH)

    • It is a set of initiatives for providing accelerated patent prosecution procedures by sharing information between some patent offices.
    • Other Provisions of Patent (Amendment) Rules, 2021
      • It will make the process of applying and granting patents completely online.
      • It will also introduce the hearing of cases in Patents through Video-Conferencing for speedy and contact-less proceedings.
      • DPIIT will dynamically redesign websites and introduce real time-based hassle-free dissemination of IP information to stakeholders.
      • It will encourage the digital process for applying & granting Patents.
      • Scheme for Facilitating Startups Intellectual Property Protection (SIPP) 
        • It has been launched to provide facilitators to Startups for filing and processing of their applications.  
        • Professional charges of such facilitators are reimbursed as per provisions under the SIPP  scheme.
      • Feedback/ Complaint Mechanism
        • The mechanism to lodge feedback/suggestions/complaints in respect of issues related to the functioning of the IP offices has been set up on the IPO website.
        • A team will act promptly on stakeholders’ suggestions/grievances and communicate appropriate responses through e- mail.
      • Awareness activities in IPR
        • DPIIT through Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) and in collaboration with the office of CGPDTM is regularly engaged in the dissemination of information and knowledge.
        • It conducts awareness drives activities in schools, universities, industries, legal and enforcement agencies and other stakeholders in collaboration with industry Associations.

    Expected Benefits of Amendments

    • Faster Processing of Patents:
      • As a result of these efforts, the time taken for the examination of patents has come down to 12-30 months at present, depending upon technology fields.
        • It was around an average of 72 months in 2015.
      • Further, it is expected to take half the time (average 24-30 months) for the final disposal of patent applications from the filing date by the end of 2021.
    • More Patent filing incentives to educational institutes:
      • The Patent (Amendment) Act, 2021 can facilitate the commercialization of research undertaken in educational institutions.
      • It will also help in Industry academia linkage.
    • Push to Atma Nirbhar Bharat:
      • It will be a major push towards Mission  Atma Nirbhar Bharat
    • Remove Procedural inconsistencies:
      • The objective of the reforms is to remove procedural inconsistencies and unnecessary steps in the processing of applications.
      • Thus, by amending the Rules, the procedures are made more compact, time-bound, user- friendly and compatible for e-transactions.

    What are Patents?

    • A patent is a type of intellectual property.
    • A patent is the granting of a property right by a sovereign authority to an inventor.
    • This grant provides the inventor exclusive rights to the patented process, design, or invention for a designated period in exchange for a comprehensive disclosure of the invention..

    What kind of protection does a patent offer?

    • In principle, the patent owner has the exclusive right to prevent or stop others from commercially exploiting the patented invention. 
    • In other words, patent protection means that the invention cannot be commercially made, used, distributed, imported or sold by others without the patent owner’s consent.

    Is a patent valid in every country?

    • Patents are territorial rights.
    • In general, the exclusive rights are only applicable in the country or region in which a patent has been filed and granted, in accordance with the law of that country or region.

    How long does a patent last?

    • The protection is granted for a limited period, generally 20 years from the filing date of the application.
      • Utility and plant patents are granted for 20 years, whereas 
      • Design patents are granted for either 14 or 15 years, depending on when filed.

    Patents vs. Trademarks vs. Copyrights

    Patents

    Trademarks

    Copyrights

    • Issued to inventors to protect their inventions for a certain time, usually 20 years.
    • Exclude others from reproducing, using, or profiting from it without the expressed permission of the patent owner.
    • There are 2 types of patents.
      • Process Patent
      • Product Patent
    • Legal protections on words, phrases, designs, or marks.
    • Contribute to the image and reputation of the product or service. 
    • Beyond symbolism, a trademark can be incredibly valuable as some companies include them in their valuation. 
    • Trademarks are protected forever, as long as it’s in use and the holder can defend it. 
    • Examples
      • Golden arch of  McDonald’s, 
      • Nike swoosh, and 
      • Apple’s apple.
    • Legal protections on creative works of the mind or “original works of authorship.” 
    • They include visual art, literary works, other writings, choreography, and software
    • Copyrights prevent others from reproducing the work without the expressed permission of the copyright owner.
    •  Granted for a specific time for the maximum period of 70 years from the death of the author. 
    • Exceptions apply to works for hire and anonymous works.

    Key Terms recently in news regarding patents

    • Evergreening of Patent 
      • It is a strategy adopted by corporate, legal, businesses for extending/ elongating the term of a granted patent in a jurisdiction that is about to expire.
      • Section 3(d) of the Indian Patent Act 1970 (amended in 2005) 
        • It 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 the evergreening of patents.
    • 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.

    Source: PIB