Scheme for Facilitating Startups Intellectual Property Protection
Startup India is a flagship initiative of the Government of India, intended to build a strong eco-system for nurturing innovation and startups in the country that will drive sustainable economic growth and generate large scale employment opportunities. The Government aims to empower startups to grow through innovation and design. Under this Initiative, various sectors were identified where emerging businesses would need support and direction. One of the focus areas sectors was Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs). The importance of IPRs can be understood as a strategic business tool to enhance the industrial competitiveness and protect their innovation.
The sustainability of startups who are with limited resources and manpower, in this highly competitive ecosystem can be only through continuous growth and development-oriented innovations; for this, it is crucial that they protect their IPRs.
To promote awareness and adoption of IPRs by startups and facilitate them in protecting and commercialising the IPRs, the Scheme for Startups Intellectual Property Protection (“SIPP or Scheme”) is envisaged to facilitate protection of patents, trademark and Designs of innovative startups. The scheme is expected to nurture and mentor innovative and emerging technologies among Startups and assist them in protecting and commercialize it by providing them access to high-quality IP services and resources.
Timeline of the Scheme
- 2016 – 2017 – Launched in 2016, the Scheme was run on a pilot basis initially for a year up to March 31st, 2017.
- 2017 – 2020 – The Scheme was further extended for a period of three years starting from April 1st, 2017, up to March 31st, 2020.
- 2020 – 2023 – The Office of Controller General Patents, Designs and Trademarks vide public notice dated April 30th, 2020, extended the Scheme for another period of three years up to March 31st, 2023.
The salient features of the extended Scheme are as below:
- Any startup recognised in terms of the notification GSR 127(E)4 published in the Gazette of India dated February 19, 2019, as may be amended from time to time.
- Self-declaration shall be required to be given by startups that they have not availed funds under any other government scheme for the purpose of paying the facilitator/patent agent/trademark agent for filing and prosecuting their IP application.
Objective of the SIPP Scheme
- The primary objective of the SIPP is to promote awareness and acquire of IPRs among the startups.
- The scheme also aims to nurture and mentor innovative and emerging technologies among startups
- To assist startups in protecting and commercialize IPRs by providing access to high-quality IP services and resources.
SIPP Benefits for Startups
- Startups can avail patent, trademark, and design services by paying them only required statutory fees and professional fees are excluded.
- The Government would pay nominal professional fees for the services related to procuring the IPR to the advocates or trademark agents in charge of handling the IPR process.
- Startups can avail of a complete start-to-end array of services under this SIPP scheme, including general advice, assistance in drafting applications, preparing and filing responses to examination reports, appearing at hearings, contest opposition and ensuring the final disposal of the IPR application.
- For effective implementation of the scheme, the DPIIT has empanelled several facilitators, who are required to provide IPR related services to Startups.
- As per the Scheme, facilitators will not charge anything from a Startup. The fees are paid directly by the government.
As per the revised guidelines, the Startups enrolled under this Scheme will not be required to obtain a certificate of an eligible business from the Inter-Ministerial Board of Certification.
Role of Facilitators in Implementation of Scheme:
For effective implementation of the scheme, a list of facilitators has been empanelled by the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (“CGPDTM”) which will help startups in preparing and filing of the application under the scheme. A startup willing to file application under the Scheme can directly contact any of the facilitators available.
The updated list of facilitators can be viewed at http://www.ipindia.nic.in/Facilitators-Patents.htm
- By government – The SIPP Scheme provides that the facilitator shall not charge anything from the Startups. The facilitators shall be paid the fees directly by the Government of India through the office of the CGPDTM.
- By startups – The cost of the statutory fees payable for each patent, trademark or design shall be borne by the startup itself.
Functions and Duties of the Facilitators
- Providing general advisory on different intellectual property rights to startups on pro bono basis
- Providing information on protecting and promoting IPRs to startups in other countries on pro bono basis
- Providing assistance in filing and disposal of the IP applications related to patents, trademarks and design under relevant acts at the national IP offices under the CGPDTM
- Drafting complete/ provisional specifications for the inventions of startups
- Preparing and filing responses to examination reports and other queries, notices or letters by the IP office
- Appearing on behalf of Start-Up at hearings as may be scheduled
- Contesting opposition, if any, by other parties, and
- Ensuring final disposal of the IPR application.
Who can be a Facilitator?
- Any patent agent registered with the CGPDTM.
- Any trademark agent registered with the CGPDTM.
- Any Advocate as defined under the Advocates Act, 1961 who is entitled to practice law as per the rules laid down by Bar Council of India from time to time, who is well-versed with the provisions of the relevant Acts and Rules and is actively involved in filing and disposal of applications for trademarks.
- A government department/ organization/agency or CPSU (like TIFAC, NRDC, BIRAC, MeitY, CSIR, Patent Information Centres (PICs) through an authorised representative; and Technology and Innovation Centres (TISCs) in accordance with DPIIT Notification No. 5/1/2017- CIPAM, dated 19-11-2018.
This has been co-authored by Kritika Narula and Ria Sharma.