SIPP Facilitator: Facilitating Patents for the greater good at what cost?

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InvnTree had previously published an article discussing the Scheme for Facilitating Start-Ups Intellectual Property Protection in India, which can be found here.

The Indian Government, in an effort to encourage start-ups in India, launched the Scheme for Facilitating Start-Ups Intellectual Property Protection (SIPP) in January 2016. This scheme was initiated in an effort to reach out to start-ups and protect and promote their Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). Start-ups can avail patent, trademark and design services by paying the required statutory fees excluding professional fees. The Government would pay nominal professional fees for the services related to procuring the IPR to the advocates or patent/trademark agents in charge of handling the IPR process.

Start-ups can avail a complete start-to-end array of services under this scheme, including general advice, assistance in drafting complete/provisional applications, filing applications, preparing and filing responses to examination reports, appearing at hearings, contesting opposition and ensuring the final disposal of the IPR application.

The Government invited advocates, patent agents and trademark agents to sign up for the SIPP scheme. Consequently, several members of the IPR practicing community put forward their names and signed up for it. A public notice regarding guidelines for facilitators and start-ups was released in June 2016, and can be viewed here

The guidelines provided directions to the facilitators and the start-ups on filing and processing applications with regards to patents, designs and trademarks. It also included the fees payable by the government for services rendered by facilitators. The total professional fees for filing a patent and disposing it without opposition was INR 20,000 (approx. USD 333), and for disposing it with opposition services was INR 25,000 (approx. USD 416). Further, facilitators were not allowed to charge more from the start-ups apart from statutory filing fees. Considering the amount of time, work and expertise involved in the patenting process, the fees prescribed for patent services seem to appear far from reality.

The June 2016 guidelines did not provide complete clarity on matters such as whether a facilitator is allowed to decline application requests. However, in March 2017, another public notice was released which was related to such queries regarding the SIPP scheme. The government made it clear that registered facilitators should not charge any fee from the start-ups other than statutory filing fees. The notice further mentioned the occurrence of incidents wherein facilitators did not provide facilitation to start-ups by citing various reasons. The notice cautioned facilitators against such practices. Further, it stated that any act of denial of facilitation to a start-up would be considered as an act of misconduct in their professional capacity which may lead to the removal of their name from the list of facilitators. Additionally, there may be action for the removal of their names from the list of registered Indian patent/trademark agents. The notice can be downloaded here

Team InvnTree works with a lot of startups as well and is always keen to help them out with our expertise. However, in the regard of becoming a facilitator, our team at InvnTree made a conscious decision since the very beginning to not be part of the SIPP scheme. Hence, we did not register as a facilitator. We took into account the level of expertise needed in a niche area such as IPR, and concluded that the professional fees paid by the government are not agreeable for the amount of work that goes into the IPR process with respect to patents in particular.

We hope this article was a useful read. 

Please feel free check our services page to find out if we can cater to your requirements. You can also contact us to explore the option of working together. 

Best regards – Team InvnTree   

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License

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