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Indian Patent Office: Roles, Processes, and Challenges

July 26, 2023
Your ultimate guide to understanding the Indian Patent Office, its roles, processes, and the challenges it faces. Discover how it impacts India's innovative potential and entrepreneurship ecosystem.
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As a nation of rich inventive spirit and robust technological growth, India highly values intellectual property rights. The body that safeguards these rights and facilitates their legal recognition is the Indian Patent Office (IPO), a central pillar in the landscape of intellectual property rights. As India’s guardian of patents, the IPO plays a critical role in fostering and protecting innovation across the country.

Brief History of the Indian Patent Office

The roots of the Indian Patent Office date back to the Act VI of 1856, which related to the protection of inventions during the colonial rule of British India. This act was largely influenced by the British Patent Law of 1852. The advent of the Indian Patents and Designs Act in 1911 established a more indigenous legal framework to govern patents. This Act remained in effect until the enforcement of the Patents Act, 1970, which serves as the foundation for the present Indian patent system.

The development of the Indian Patent Office parallels India’s own socio-economic journey. Today, the IPO witnesses a significant surge in patent applications and grants, mirroring the booming innovative culture within the nation.

What is a Patent?

A patent is an exclusive legal right granted by the government to an inventor to prevent others from commercially exploiting the innovation in India without their approval. In India, patents are typically categorized into product patents and process patents, which respectively protect the invention itself and the method of producing certain products. This framework encourages a multitude of industries to flourish and compete on a leveled playing field.

The Indian Patent Office (IPO)

The Indian Patent Office, which operates under the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trade Marks (CGPDTM), falls within the purview of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) (formerly known as Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP)), Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

The IPO, with its four main branches located in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata, is instrumental in administering patent laws within the Indian territory under the guidance of the CGPDTM. Its operations significantly influence the trajectories of innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic expansion throughout the country.

Roles and Activities of the IPO

The IPO performs a multitude of functions that span across the entire lifespan of a patent. These include accepting patent applications, conducting examinations, issuing patents, maintaining patents, and aiding international patent filings. In addition to these, the IPO provides resources and services like e-filing services, patent search databases, and annual reports to support inventors and businesses.

Patent Application

The patent journey commences with the filing of a patent application. This can be carried out at one of the IPO branches or via the online portal. The application typically comprises a complete specification detailing the invention, claims specifying the invention’s scope, an abstract providing a summary of the invention, and drawings, if necessary.

Patent Examination

Once the IPO receives an application, it is queued for publication and examination. The patent application is published 18 months after the filing or priority date. The applicant is then required to request an examination, upon which the IPO evaluates the application based on the patentability criteria of novelty, inventive step, and industrial applicability.

Patent Grant

Should the application fulfill all the stipulated criteria and sufficiently address any objections highlighted in the examination report, the IPO grants the patent.

You can refer to our article on the patent process in India for more details.

Patent Renewal and Maintenance

Post-grant, a patent necessitates annual upkeep in the form of renewal fees, starting from the third year until the twentieth year. If these fees are not paid, the patent rights could lapse. However, the IPO allows for the restoration of lapsed patents through a specific request process, provided certain conditions are met.

Financial Performance

The Indian Patent Office, in the recent years, has witnessed a steady upward trend in patent filing fees, contributing to the revenue from intellectual property rights. This growth is indicative not just of the increasing number of patent filings, but also the escalating awareness and valuation of intellectual property rights among Indian businesses and individuals.

New Schemes

Keeping up with the rapidly evolving innovative environment, the Indian Patent Office has rolled out several new schemes. Prominent among these are the expedited examination process for startups (SIPP) and the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) program, which significantly reduces the time taken for patent examination procedures. These initiatives aim to create a conducive ecosystem for invention and entrepreneurial growth.

Risks and Challenges

In its quest to promote and protect innovation, the Indian Patent Office grapples with various challenges. A high pendency rate due to the surge in patent applications, and a shortage of skilled patent examiners leading to extended examination periods are some of the major hurdles that the IPO seeks to overcome.

Latest Developments

With a view to addressing these challenges and keeping pace with technological advancements, the Indian Patent Office has undertaken several initiatives. A key development has been the launch of the Comprehensive e-Filing Services for Patents. This digitized service allows inventors and businesses to file, track, and manage patent applications online, streamlining the patenting process and making it more accessible and efficient.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How many patent offices does India have?

India has four regional patent offices, located in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata.

2. What is the name of the Patent Office in India?

The Patent Office in India is a part of the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trade Marks (CGPDTM).

3. Who runs the Patent Office in India?

The Patent Office operates under the leadership of the Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trade Marks (CGPDTM), who serves as the Controller of Patents for the country.

4. Who issues patents in India?

The Indian Patent Office, functioning under the authority of the CGPDTM, issues patents in India.

5. What are some challenges faced by the Indian Patent Office?

Major challenges faced by the Indian Patent Office include a high pendency rate, a shortage of expert patent examiners, the complexity of international patent applications, and staying abreast with rapid technological advancements.


The Indian Patent Office’s role in propelling India’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem is more pivotal than ever. As the steward of intellectual property rights, it stands at the center of India’s innovative potential, and its strategies and policies hold the potential to shape India’s inventive future. Despite the challenges, the IPO’s commitment to nurturing an environment that fosters innovation and creativity remains unwavering. Indeed, the IPO’s journey is a testament to India’s growing stature as a global knowledge powerhouse.

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