In its ongoing efforts to advance the patent protection scene in the country, India recently published the Patents (Amendment) Rules of 2021, which amend the Patents Rules of 2003.

The amendment now includes a new category, “eligible educational institutions.” Rule 2(ca) now defines an educational institution as “a university established or incorporated by or under Central Act, a Provincial Act, or a State Act, and includes any other educational institution as [recognized] by an authority designated by the Central Government or the State Government or the Union territories in this regard.” This means any eligible educational institution will benefit from reduced fees for the entire patent filing and prosecution, thereby incentivizing such establishments to apply for more patents, and bringing India a step closer to becoming a global player in patent filings.

It is worth noting that India has regularly been amending its Patents Rules in order to remove procedural inconsistencies and unnecessary hurdles in the processing of applications. These efforts, which began as far back as 2016, aim to accelerate the grant, registration, and final disposal of patents. More recently, in November 2020, India reduced the filing fees for start-ups and small entities. These efforts have helped expedite the grant, along with speeding up registration and final disposal process. Additionally, these reforms have helped decrease the time taken for the examination of patents.

With the addition of the “eligible educational institution” as a category that now benefits from these reduced fees, India is expected to be better positioned to foster innovation and increase patent filings by local and foreign educational institutions.

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