On 9 February 2021, the Central Government issued a notification in the Official Gazette, proposing to further amend Patent Rules 2003 and inviting objections or suggestions from ‘any person’ within 30 days from the date of publication of the draft rules.

Draft Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2021, proposes to include “eligible educational institutions” as a new category of beneficiary who will be considered at par with natural person, start up and small entity in respect of fees to be paid and for the various other proceedings of the Patent Act. The definition of “eligible educational institutions” has been provided in Rule 2 of the Patents Rules, 2003 after sub-rule (c) as,

(ca) ‘eligible educational institution’ means an institution established by a Central, Provincial or State Act, which is owned or controlled by the Government, and is wholly or substantially financed by the Government.

Explanation for the term ‘substantially financed’ has been provided as having the same meaning as in the Explanation to sub-section (1) of section 14 of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) Act, 1971(56 of 1971).

In rule 7 in sub-rule (1), for the second proviso, the following was included;

―Provided further that in the case of a small entity, or startup, or eligible educational institution, every document for which a fee has been specified shall be accompanied by Form-28.

Thus, while filing any form, which has a fee specified, shall be accompanied by Form 28.

While transferring the ownership to a person other than natural person, start-up, small entity or eligible educational institution, the difference in scale of fee, if any, shall be paid by the new applicant along with request of transfer.

Beneficiaries of the proposed amendments: In the year 2018, UGC had directed all the universities and higher educational institution in the country to set up ‘intellectual property centres’ and ‘innovation labs’ to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. Patents would help universities to improve their ranking, establish an innovation ecosystem, incubate knowledge-based start-ups, earn additional revenue and measure research activity.  In the back drop of this, the present initiative by the Central government will give a push in the right direction in nurturing the start up ecosystem in the country which comes out from various incubation centres supported by higher educational institutions and in nurturing the innovation ecosystem in the country.