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Patents in India: An Overview

July 26, 2023
Get a thorough understanding of Patents in India with our guide. Learn about their purpose, types, application process, cost & more. Suitable for both beginners and experts.
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Patents are a cornerstone of intellectual property rights, providing inventors with exclusive rights to their inventions for a specified period. They play a crucial role in promoting innovation, stimulating economic growth, and safeguarding the interests of inventors. This guide offers a detailed exploration of patents within the Indian context, encompassing everything from their definition and significance to the application process, associated costs, and legal considerations.


A patent is a legal entitlement conferred by the government to an inventor, granting them the exclusive right to prevent others from making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing their invention for a period of 20 years from the date of filing the patent application. The invention can be a product or a process that offers a new way of doing something or provides a new technical solution to a problem.


Patents serve a dual purpose. They protect the rights of inventors, preventing others from exploiting their inventions without consent. Simultaneously, they contribute to societal progress by encouraging the disclosure of inventions, as the details become publicly accessible once the patent is granted, fostering further innovation and development.


In India, patents are classified into following types:

  • Ordinary Patents: Granted for inventions that meet the patentability criteria, i.e., novelty, inventive step, and industrial applicability. The term of an ordinary patent is 20 years from the date of filing.
  • Patents of Addition: Granted for any improvement or modification of an already patented invention. The term for this patent is concurrent with the term of the original patent.
  • Divisional Patents: Arise from a parent application, usually when the parent application contains more than one invention.
  • Convention Patents: Granted to applicants who have already filed a patent application in a convention country. The filing date in India can be the same as the filing date in the convention country.


The patent process in India involves several steps:

  1. Patent Search: Before filing a patent application, a thorough search is conducted to ensure that the invention is new and not previously known.
  2. Filing of Patent Application: The patent application is filed with the Indian Patent Office, either with complete specification or with provisional specification.
  3. Publication of Application: After 18 months from the date of filing, the patent application is published in the Patent Office Journal.
  4. Request for Examination: Within 48 months from the date of filing, a request for examination is filed.
  5. Examination of Patent Application: The patent application is examined by the patent examiner and objections, if any, are raised.
  6. Grant of Patent: If the application meets all the requirements, the patent is granted and published in the Patent Office Journal.

Read more about the patent process in India article for an in-depth understanding.


The patent process can be intricate and time-consuming, requiring a thorough understanding of patent law and procedure. There’s also a risk of patent infringement if proper research is not conducted before product launches. Additionally, filing and maintaining a patent can be costly due to the process being expensive and filing and protecting in each of the countries of interest.


A granted patent provides the inventor with a monopoly over their invention for 20 years, allowing them to control its use and reap economic benefits. It can also enhance the inventor’s reputation and provide opportunities for licensing or selling the patent.


The cost of obtaining a patent in India includes government fees for filing, examination, and grant of the patent, which vary depending on the applicant’s category (natural person, small entity, educational institutes in one fee bracket; and other applicants in a higher government fee bracket).

  • Official Fees (e-filing): INR 1600 (individuals, small entities, educational institutes), INR 8000 (others)
  • Examination Fee: INR 4000 (individuals, small entities, educational institutes), INR 20,000 (others)

Additional costs include professional fees for patent agents and attorneys, and maintenance fees for keeping the patent alive. The professional fees is a significant cost in the process and can vary from one patent expert to another. Please refer to our article about patent costs which provides a very good patent cost estimate.


  • What can be patented? Any invention that is novel, has an inventive step, and is capable of industrial application can be patented.
  • Who can apply for a patent? Any person who is the inventor, assignee, or legal representative of the inventor can apply for a patent.
  • How long does it take to get a patent in India? The duration can vary, but it typically takes 3-5 years. This can be reduced to 1-2 years, if fast track examination is availed.


Latest Developments

The Indian government has introduced several initiatives to streamline the patent process, including:

Legal Considerations

The Patents Act, 1970, and the Patents Rules, 2003, govern the patent system in India. It’s crucial to comply with these laws and regulations to avoid legal complications.

Contact Information

For advice and assistance on patents, contact a professional at Zatapult. Our experts are well-versed in all aspects of patent law and can guide you through the patent process. Visit our website at Zatapult to learn more.

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