The Complete Handbook to Patent Filing in India

Patent filing in India

An inventor’s journey from an creating an idea to patent filing in India, involves navigating the patenting process. This article decodes various steps in going about patent filing in India, while keeping an eye on the essential documentation you will need.

Idea to Patent Filing in India: Step-by-Step process

Step 1 – Defining Problem Statement

While it may appear obvious, it is imperative to precisely define the problem statement they are addressing. The problem must be technical in nature and should have a potential technical solution. This is indispensable for several reasons. Firstly, the more clearly defined the technical problem, the better the direction for conceiving the technical solution. Often, a feature or solution may seem like a desirable addition, but it might not meet the criteria for patentability if it fails to resolve a genuine real-world technical issue.

Additionally, articulating the problem is crucial for inclusion in the patent application draft. This aids readers, especially examiners, in comprehending the trajectory of the draft even before the actual invention is fully defined. Moreover, defining the problem empowers an inventor to outline the scope of their solution. During the brainstorming phase, numerous ideas may arise. A well-defined problem makes it easier to categorize these ideas under separate problem statements or a single problem statement.

Step 2 – Ideation

The next step involves brainstorming on the problem at hand. As an inventor, it’s important to generate as many solutions to your technical problem, as feasible. At this stage, there’s no need to be concerned about the exact practical implementation. If you can theoretically outline the high-level implementation details, they can be included in your patent application. Allow your thoughts to flow freely at this stage.

Once you have multiple potential solutions, refine them by conducting a quick prior art search. This is not a comprehensive prior art search but a quick check to see if what you are brainstorming, is readily known or popular. Utilize the findings from this search to either eliminate weak solutions or modify them to enhance their strength. Researching other publications also provides new insights to add more solutions or bolster the existing ones. Review patent publications, articles, blogs, research papers, etc., to understand how the industry has conventionally addressed your problem and endeavor to improve upon those solutions.

During the ideation phase, it’s essential to ensure that the core idea is not an exception to patentability. Examine the list of exceptions. Section 3 of Indian Patent Act provides an exhaustive list of exceptions that cannot be patented in India. For example, new mathematical equations, scientific discoveries, source code of a software (software per se) or new methods of doing business might not be patentable, as they fall under these exceptions.

Subsequently, once you’ve addressed the aforementioned points in your ideation strategy, ask yourself the following questions:

Patent filing in India

Step 3 – Invention Disclosure Preparation

You might consider this step as a transition from a mental exercise (ideation/thinking/brainstorming) to documenting the idea. Invention disclosure, also known as Invention disclosure form (IDF) or Disclosure of Invention (DOI), essentially represents the initial draft of your invention. It forms the basis for writing a patent application for patent filing in India. Due to its nature as the first draft, significant emphasis should be placed on creating a comprehensive and well-defined invention disclosure. A well-written disclosure enables your patent attorney or agent to clearly visualize your invention.

While crafting an invention disclosure, utilize the findings from the preceding steps to document all necessary details about the invention. Create detailed flowcharts, block diagrams, along with any other drawings that can aid in understanding your invention.

Ideally, a basic flowchart or block diagram should be sketched during the ideation phase (step 2). This facilitates gaining clarity on each step of the process or the overall structure of the product/article being developed, aiding in visualization. As you continue brainstorming, add steps/blocks to your drawing. If this was not done during brainstorming, it should be completed at this stage. Clear visualization allows for deconstructing the entire idea into components, identifying the important/novel portions, focusing on them, and reassembling everything to construct a robust, comprehensive patent.

This exercise also proves beneficial when drafting a patent, as the independent and dependent claims can be directly derived from these drawings. With clear patent drawings, the claims can be written efficiently, focusing on the right features.

Additionally, provide descriptive details for each step and each block (especially the unique elements of the invention). Establish connections between the uniqueness and the problem statement, describing how the unique elements of your invention precisely address the problem statement defined in step 1. If any jargon is utilized, explain its meaning and significance to avoid clarity rejections in patent prosecution.

Strive to describe every important feature of your idea, with a primary focus on detailing all the novel elements. Aim to capture various variations of every embodiment and all possible implementation details, known as work-arounds. Consider the perspective of a competitor and endeavor to capture how the competitor might implement your idea differently. Referring to your flowchart/block diagram can facilitate this exploration.

It’s important to remember that in a patent, it’s not sufficient to describe only the uniqueness. You should offer sufficient details on how one can broadly implement your invention without undue experimentation, based on the information provided in your patent. These details need not necessarily be unique but should adequately describe the elements of your invention.

Step 4 – Conducting a Prior Art Search

Once you have written the disclosure, hire a patent professional to conduct a detailed patentability search for your invention. You should get a Non-Disclosure agreement (NDA) signed with your patent professional before you share your invention disclosure with them.

This patentability search would give a clear view of where your invention stands in the world of existing publications (prior art). This would help you define your exact uniqueness and secondary features and can potentially reduce prosecution costs at a later stage.

Additionally, it is advantageous to scrutinize prior art solutions to grasp how others have tackled or solved the particular problem. This exercise provides a fresh perspective and dimension for approaching the problem. Analyzing prior art also helps an inventor overcome confirmation bias while ideating, compelling them to step out of their comfort zone and explore different avenues to solve the problem.

Step 5 – Drafting a Patent Application

In India, you can file your patent application as a provisional patent application or a non-provisional patent application. A provisional application in India is typically utilized to establish an early priority date for an invention. The primary benefit of filing a provisional patent application is that the inventor does not have to invest significant time and resources into its drafting and filing. Instead, they can simply describe the subject matter of the invention in a readable format and promptly file it. Unlike the more comprehensive non-provisional patent application, there are no strict rules regarding the writing of the provisional application.

Patent law in India, as well as in many other jurisdictions, provides this option so that patent applicants do not miss out on securing an early priority date due to complexities involved in drafting a non-provisional patent application. After filing the provisional application and securing a priority date, the applicant is required to file a non-provisional patent application (complete specification) within 1 year from the date of filing the provisional application. The non-provisional application represents a more thorough and comprehensive version of the earlier-filed provisional application.

Here is a write-up on patent drafting that provides several additional details on how to write a patent application in India.

Final Step – Drafting a Patent Application

Forms required for patent filing in India

Following is a list of important forms required for patent filing in India:

  • Form 1: Application for Grant of Patent
  • Form 2: Provisional/Complete Specification form
  • Form 3: Statement and Undertaking regarding foreign applications
  • Form 5: Declaration of Inventorship
  • Form 9: Request for early publication of patent application
  • Form 18: Request for Examination
  • Form 26: Power of Attorney, if filing through a patent agent or attorney
  • Form 28: If the application is a start-up
  • Government prescribed fee (amount varies based on the type of applicant)

Whether a seasoned inventor or a novice to the patent realm, grasping the forms and nuances of the patent filing in India is always crucial.

Harness this knowledge, make informed decisions at every curve, and streamline your path towards securing a robust patent. Innovate with confidence, knowing that your intellectual masterpiece has the protection it rightfully deserves, ensuring that your creative journey transcends from mere concepts to tangible, protected, and recognized innovations on the national, and potentially, global stage.

Note to Aspiring Inventors: Always consult with a patent attorney or professional for personalized guidance tailored to the specific details of your invention.

Comment below if you have filed at least one patent using this process!

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