DeitY has introduced a revised scheme to financially support international patent filing by the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and Technology Startup units from India in the area of ICTE. The modifications are based on inputs from NASSCOM and other Industry members. The scheme has introduced significant changes and simplifications aimed at boosting innovation, promoting advantages of global IP and growth opportunities in ICTE sector. The scheme titled "Support for International Patent Protection in E&IT" (SIP-EIT) will be valid till 30.11.2019. However, applications submitted till the last of date of acceptance will be considered even beyond the said deadline.
Eligibility of an Applicant
The elusive R&D recognition by DSIR condition has been removed in the current scheme. To qualify for the SIP-EIT scheme, a company should fall under any of the following heads:
- Should be registered under the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development (MSMED) Act, 2006. More details about the MSMED Act and its benefits can be accessed at http://msme.gov.in/web/portal/FAQ.aspx.
- Should be a registered company under the Companies Act. However, such company's investments in plant and machinery or equipment (PME) should be lower than the limits defined under the MSMED Act, 2006 (See investment limits below).
- Should be a registered Software Technology Park unit and its investments in PME should be lower than the limits defined under the MSMED Act, 2006.
- Should be a technology incubation enterprise or a startup located in an incubation centre / park and registered as a company. A startup should also have a certification from the incubation centre / park in case it is located in such premises. These companies, too, have to meet the investment limits for PME defined under the MSMED Act, 2006.
Investment limits in Plant and Machinery or Equipment (PME) as per MSMED Act:
Enterprises Investment in Plant and Machinery (Manufacturing Sector)
- Micro Enterprises - Not exceeding ₹ 25 Lakh
- Small Enterprises - More than ₹ 25 Lakh but not exceeding ₹ 5 Crore
- Medium Enterprises - More than ₹ 5 Crore but not exceeding ₹ 10 Crore
Investment in Equipment (Service Sector)
- Micro Enterprises - Not exceeding ₹ 10 Lakh
- Small Enterprises - More than ₹ 10 Lakh but not exceeding ₹ 2 Crore
- Medium Enterprises - More than ₹ 2 Crore but not exceeding ₹ 5 Crore
Application Acceptance Criteria
In addition to the eligibility criteria, applicant should have filed for patent for the invention in the area of ICTE in India or should have taken waiver for foreign filing first under Section 39 of the Indian Patent Act. http://ipindia.nic.in/ipr/patent/eVersion_ActRules/sections/ps39.html.
The applicant has the flexibility to choose the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) route, Paris Convention or direct filing to the foreign country of innovator's choice with adequate justification for the choice of route and of country/ countries. Only one application for foreign filing in all countries for a particular invention will be considered under the scheme.
Applicant must possess a Prior Art Search report from a reputed agency such as the International Searching Authority (ISA) or a registered IPR attorney with at least 5 years' experience in international patent filing.
As a service, the Government of India has set up Intellectual Property Facilitation Centres (IPFCs) or Patent Information Centres of the Department of Science and Technology that can offer prior art search report services.
The scheme allows employees or board of directors to file the application on behalf of the owner, provided, they are officially with the company on the date of filing application
Each applicant can submit a maximum 5 applications per FY and a total of 25 during the entire time period of the scheme (5 years).
Reimbursement and Expenses covered:
- The scheme will cover expenses such as official fees including filing, examination, attorney charges. Expenses involved in filing overseas applications will also be covered. However, expenses incurred post the grant of patent will not be considered.
- Reimbursement limit has been set at Rs 15 Lakhs per invention or 50% of the total expenses incurred in filing and processing of patent application till support is granted - whichever is lesser.
- Reimbursement will only be applicable to expenditures incurred from the date of acceptance of complete application by DeitY subject to approval of competent authority.
The procedure to apply online and the list of supporting documentation required can be found here http://www.ict-ipr.in/sipeit/SIPEITForm.