Startups Intellectual Property Protection Scheme | Recent Changes in 2023

  • Setindiabiz Team
  • May 2, 2023
startups intellectual property protection scheme
In this blog, we will explore the benefits of intellectual property protection for Startups under the Startups Intellectual Property Protection Scheme (SIPP). We will provide elaborate explanations of everything this scheme entails, from its vision and objectives to its execution by authorized facilitators. We will also share the most recent updates regarding the scheme to keep you posted.

In today’s fiercely competitive business landscape, Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) have emerged as an indispensable tool for startups to enhance their goodwill and reputation in the markets. Startups often face resource and manpower constraints to help their businesses grow rapidly. So, using intellectual properties like trademarks, patents, and designs help them protect and convey their brand value quickly to potential customers. Startups Intellectual Property Protection Scheme or SIPP is basically an initiative of the Indian Government to spread awareness about the benefits of Intellectual Property protection to startups and facilitate them to obtain the same via prescribed legal procedures like intellectual property registrations.

Recent Update:
  • The Startup Intellectual Property Scheme (SIPP), which was initially introduced on a pilot basis in 2016 and extended until 31-03-2023, has now been further extended for an additional three years until 31-03-2026. Notably, certain aspects of the scheme have been amended from 01-04-2023, building upon the experience gained during its implementation.

What is the Startups Intellectual Property Protection Scheme (SIPP)?

The Startups Intellectual Property Protection Scheme is an initiative of the Indian Government to facilitate Startups in protecting their intellectual properties, both in India and abroad. The Scheme was much needed by Startups as their groundbreaking ideas had to be protected in order for them to operate in the fiercely competitive Indian and global markets.
Introduced in the year 2016, the scheme facilitated an agreement between the Indian Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), whereby WIPO established its Technology and Innovation Support Centers (TISCs) at multiple locations in India. Under the scheme, all Indian innovators or creators are entitled to use the services of TISCs to secure their brand and intellectual properties on a global scale. As far as intellectual property protection within Indian boundaries are concerned, the scheme has empowered the Office of Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks under the DPIIT to empanel a group of facilitators from time to time to take care of the same.

Vision of the SIPP Scheme

The vision of the SIPP Scheme is to protect and promote Intellectual Property Rights of Startups and thus encourage innovation and creativity among them. This can be done using the services of Facilitators appointed by the Office of Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trademarks and the services of TISCs established in India by the WIPO.

Objective of the SIPP Scheme

Objective of the SIPP aims to promote awareness of Intellectual Property Rights amongst Startups and encourage the adoption and utilization of services provided by the TISCs and facilitators established in India. The Scheme is inclined to nurturing and mentoring innovation of emerging technologies among Startups, innovators, and educational institutes by assisting them in protecting and commercializing their Intellectual Properties within and outside India.

Who is Eligible for Intellectual Property Protection under SIPP Scheme?

The Startups Intellectual Property Protection Scheme (SIPP) extends its support to a diverse range of entrepreneurial ventures, including recognized startups, individual innovators and creators, Indian educational institutes, and even Indian applicants pursuing international patent protection. However, these applicants need to fulfill certain eligibility criterias to be applicable for the scheme as mentioned below.
  1. Recognized Startups: Any startup officially recognized by the DPIIT as per the notification GSR 127(E) published in the Gazette of India on 19th February 2019, and its subsequent amendments shall be eligible to avail the benefits of this scheme. The Recognition can be verified through a Certificate issued by the Department, the credentials of which can be checked on the Startup India Web Portal. Previously, along with this Recognition Certificate, eligible Startups were also required to obtain a Certificate from the Inter-ministerial board. However, this requirement has been removed as per the latest changes. Though startups must provide a self-declaration stating that they haven’t availed funds from any other Government scheme for remunerating facilitators, patent agents, or trademark agents for filing and prosecuting their IP applications.
  2. Indian Innovators/Creators: Indian individuals who are innovators or creators and have filed an application to protect their intellectual properties (patent/design/trademark) through any Technology and Innovation Support Center (TISC) established in India, and are facilitated by a facilitator shall be eligible to obtain the benefits of the scheme. Similar to recognized startups, innovators and creators must furnish a self-declaration affirming that they haven’t received funds from any other Government scheme to pay facilitators, patent agents, or trademark agents for filing and prosecuting their IP applications.
  3. Indian Educational Institutes: Indian educational institutes established by the Government or an act of the state, or wholly / substantially funded by the Government are eligible to file an IP application (patent/design/trademark) through any TISC established under the scheme. However, the concerned institute must also submit a self-declaration stating that they haven’t availed funds from any other Government scheme to compensate facilitators, patent agents, or trademark agents for filing and prosecuting their IP applications.
  4. Eligible Indian Applicants for International Patents: Indian applicants filing an international patent application as Receiving Office, India (RO/IN), or International Bureau, WIPO (RO/IB), and selecting India as the International Search Authority (ISA) are also eligible to avail the benefits of the SIPP Scheme.
Note:
A Recognized Startup under the Scheme is a registered entity, not more than 10 years old since its incorporation, with turnover in any of these 10 years not exceeding Rs.100 crores. Additionally, the entity must deal in innovative products or processes with the primary goal of wealth creation. Also, it must be an original entity and not formed by reconstruction of an existing entity.

Appointment of Facilitators under the SIPP Scheme

In order to ensure effective implementation of the scheme, the Controller General of Patent, Design and Trademark (CGPDTM) shall empanel facilitators from time to time. Further, the CGPDTM will also be responsible to regulate the functioning of these facilitators ensuring they are in compliance with the duties assigned to them. Also, the CGPDTM has the authority to remove or replace any facilitator if a complaint has been filed against it by a Startup, or the facilitator has refused to provide services to a startup, or has been reported for professional misconduct through any source.

Eligibility Criterias for a Facilitator

  1. Any patent agent registered with CGPDTM
  2. Any trademark agent registered with CGPDTM
  3. Government organizations/ agencies/ departments like TIFAC, BIRAC, NRDC, DEITY, etc.
  4. 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 patents, trademarks and designs.

Functions of Facilitators

The primary function of a facilitator is to oversee the execution of the Startups Intellectual Property Protection Scheme. This goal can be achieved by performing a number of tasks and activities as a daily routine. Here is a comprehensive and updated list of functions facilitators are supposed to perform everyday to make sure the implementation of the SIPP Scheme is as per standards.
  • Providing general advisory on different intellectual property rights
  • Providing information on protecting and promoting IPRs in other countries
  • Providing assistance in filing to disposal of the IP applications related to patents, trademarks and designs under relevant Acts at the national IP offices under the CGPDTM
  • Providing assistance in filing of an international patent application by an eligible applicant filed before Receiving Office, India (RO/IN) or International Bureau, WIPO (RO/IB), electing India as International Search Authority (ISA)
  • Drafting provisional & complete patent specifications and an ISA patent application for inventions
  • Providing assistance in filing to disposal of International Trade Mark application originating from India under the Madrid Protocol
  • Preparing and filing responses to search & examination reports and other queries, notices or letters by the IP office, India or WIPO
  • Appearing on behalf of an eligible applicant at hearings, as may be scheduled
  • Contesting opposition, if any, by other parties
  • Ensuring final disposal of the IPR application.

Fees for Facilitators

In the context of the Startups Intellectual Property Protection Scheme (SIPP), facilitators play a crucial role in assisting eligible applicants with the filing and prosecution of their patents, trademarks, or designs. The facilitation fees, applicable to empanelled facilitators, are fixed for any number of applications submitted by the eligible applicants. Importantly, these fees are directly paid to the facilitators by the Central Government through the office of the CGPDTM (Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trademarks), and disbursed by the respective Intellectual Property (IP) offices. The fee structure, subject to revision by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, is outlined as follows:
Stage of Payment Patent Trademark Design
At the time of filing
Rs. 15,000
Rs. 3,000
Rs. 3,000
At the time of final disposal (Without Opposition)
Rs. 25,000
Rs. 5,000
Rs. 5,000
At the time of final disposal (With Opposition)
Rs. 35,000
Rs. 10,000
Rs. 10,000
Facilitators are entitled to claim their fees from the respective IP offices based on the stage of work completed. For the claim of fees, the facilitator must provide an invoice, accompanied by a self-declaration from the applicant, stating that no funds were availed from any other Government scheme for paying the facilitator, patent agent, or trademark agent for the IP application.
In cases where an application is withdrawn or abandoned before its disposal, the facilitator is eligible for fees only for the filing of the application, excluding the disposal stage. The reimbursement process involves the facilitator submitting an invoice to the respective IP Office, along with the Registration ID No. obtained from DPIIT (Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade) for the startup associated with the IP application.
For applications filed through a Technology and Innovation Support Center (TISC) and facilitated by an empanelled facilitator under the SIPP Scheme, the facilitator can claim fees by presenting a prescribed certificate issued by the respective TISC, whose services were utilized by the applicant. In the case of Trademark or International Trademark applications, final disposal refers to the registration of the Trademark/International Trademark or the final rejection of the application (excluding withdrawal or abandonment), as the case may be.

Statutory Fees to Avail the SIPP Scheme

Under the Startups Intellectual Property Protection Scheme (SIPP), it is important to note that the eligible applicants are responsible for covering the statutory fees associated with their patent, trademark, or design applications. This means that the fees for each applied patent, trademark, or design shall be borne by the applicants themselves.
In the case of Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications, where applicants opt for the International Search Authority (ISA), the costs of PCT fees, including transmittal fees, international filing fees, and search fees, will also be the responsibility of the eligible applicants. Similarly, for International Trademark applications filed through the Madrid System, the eligible applicants shall bear the costs of fees and payments required under the system.

Conclusion

The Startups Intellectual Property Protection Scheme (SIPP) serves as a vital catalyst in nurturing a culture of innovation among startups and creators in India. With its comprehensive support and streamlined facilitation, SIPP empowers eligible applicants to safeguard their Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) and thrive in a competitive global landscape. By encouraging creativity, fostering growth, and providing strategic protection, SIPP plays a pivotal role in shaping India’s journey as a powerhouse of innovation and entrepreneurship.

FAQs

Q1: Who can benefit from the Startup Intellectual Property Protection Scheme (SIPP)?

Eligible Startups, innovators, and educational institutes in India are eligible to benefit from the SIPP Scheme. Additionally, Indian applicants filing international patent applications can also avail the advantages offered by SIPP.

Q2: How are facilitator fees managed in the SIPP Scheme?

Under the SIPP Scheme, facilitator fees are directly paid by the Central Government through the office of the CGPDTM to the empanelled facilitators. These fees are determined based on different stages of the IP application process, covering filing and disposal. Eligible applicants do not need to pay facilitator fees; they are handled by the government through the respective IP office.

Q3: Who is responsible for the statutory fees in the SIPP Scheme?

Eligible applicants themselves bear the statutory fees associated with their patent, trademark, or design applications. This includes PCT fees for international patent applications and costs related to the Madrid System for international trademark applications.
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