In 2016, the Government of India launched a Scheme for Facilitating Start-Ups Intellectual Property Protection (SIPP) in order to encourage innovation and creativity among startups and protect and promote their Intellectual Property Rights. Through the assistance of IP Facilitators, whose fees were paid by the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trademarks, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Government of India, the scheme made it easier for startups to file and process their patent, design, or trademark applications.
The SIPP scheme’s objective is to increase startup adoption of and awareness of IPRs. It helps startups protect and commercialize their innovations by giving them access to high-quality IP resources and services. It also has a tendency to mentor and nurture emerging technologies. It facilitates and encourages startups to file IPR applications, encouraging them to be innovative and creative.
Criteria for SIPP Eligibility
Any startup that meets the following requirements can apply for their IPR through facilitators under this scheme:
- a company in India that has been registered or incorporated for up to seven years. However, the time frame for biotechnology startup companies could be as long as ten years.
- startups with a maximum annual revenue of Rs. 25 crore in a given fiscal year.
- startups focused on the creation, implementation, innovation, or commercialization of novel processes, goods, or services based on technology or intellectual property.
However, this scheme does not apply to entities that are created by reorganizing or dissolving an existing company. A Certificate of Recognition from the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion is required for the startups. However, the Inter-Ministerial Board of Certification’s certificate of eligible business is sufficient for them.
Facilitators Under SIPP
The Controller General of Patents, Designs & TradeMarks (CGPDTM) is obligated to appoint facilitators for the SIPP scheme’s efficient implementation. The empanelled facilitators’ roles and conduct are governed by the CGPDTM. Facilitators include the Agents for trademarks who are members of the CGPDTM, Patent agents who are members of the CGPDTM, Any advocate, as defined by the Advocates Act of 1961, who is authorized to practice law in accordance with the rules established by the Bar Council of India and actively participates in the processing of trademark applications and government department, agency, or Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSU) such as TIFAC, NRDC, BIRAC, MeitY, or CSIR, among others. However, the IP application must be signed by an authorized individual in accordance with the applicable Act and Rules.
Roles and Responsibilities of Facilitator
The CGPDTM has decided that the following are the roles and responsibilities of facilitators:
- providing startups with free general advice on the various IPRs.
- supplying startups in other nations with free information about IPR protection and promotion.
- assisting in the disposal and filing of IP applications pertaining to designs, patents, and trademarks in accordance with the relevant Acts at the national IP Offices established under the CGPDTM.
- preparing comprehensive and preliminary patent specifications for startup inventions.
- submitting and preparing responses to the IP Office’s examination reports, letters, and other notices.
- participating in scheduled hearings on behalf of the startups.
- addressing any objections raised by any other parties.
- ensuring that the IPR applications are finally disposed of.
The facilitator will not charge the entrepreneurs or startups for submitting the IPR application. However, the startup must pay the statutory fees for each trademark, design, or patent it applies for under this scheme. Depending on the stage at which the work is finished, the facilitator can get the fees from the IP Office. The startup in question should include a self-declaration stating that they have not received funds from any other government program to pay the facilitator, trademark agent, or patent agent for filing and prosecuting their IP application. This statement should be included in the bill that a facilitator claims for fees. The facilitator will only be paid for filing the application, not for disposing of it, if the application is withdrawn or abandoned prior to its disposal. The facilitator is required to submit an invoice to the relevant IP Office with the startup’s registration number, which he or she obtained from the DIPP, in order to be eligible for reimbursement of fees.
Procedure for Filing Patent Applications by Startups Under SIPP Through Facilitators
Procedure for a Startup to Apply for a Patent Under SIPP Startups that want to apply for a patent under this scheme can choose a facilitator from the list of facilitators on the CGPDTM official website. In order to prepare and submit an application for the SIPP scheme, startups can directly communicate with the facilitator. After determining whether the invention is patentable, the facilitator will submit a patent specification on the startup’s behalf to the appropriate patent office in accordance with the Patent Act and Rules.
The facilitator will attend the hearings, prepare a response to any questions posed by the Patent Office, and monitor the application as it progresses through the subsequent steps after submitting the patent specification to the appropriate Patent Office.
Procedure for Filing Design Applications by Startups Under SIPP Through Facilitators
Procedure for Filing a Design Application by a Startup Under SIPP Startups who wish to submit a design application under this scheme can choose a facilitator from the list of facilitators on the CGPDTM website. In order to prepare and submit an application for the SIPP scheme, startups can directly communicate with the facilitator. In accordance with the Design Act and Rules, the facilitator will submit the design application on the startup’s behalf to the Design Office. The facilitator will keep an eye on the application and prepare a response to any Design Office questions.
Procedure for Filing Trademark Applications by Startups Under SIPP Through Facilitators
Procedure for Filing a Trademark Application by a Startup Under SIPP Startups that want to use this scheme to apply for a trademark can choose a facilitator from the list of facilitators on the CGPDTM official website. In order to prepare and submit an application for the SIPP scheme, startups can directly communicate with the facilitator. In accordance with the Trademark Act and Rules, the facilitator will submit the trademark application on the startup’s behalf to the appropriate Trademark Registry. The facilitator will keep an eye on the application, prepare a response to the Trademark Office’s questions, and be present at hearings.
An inventor’s possession of a patent is now of the utmost importance. Any startup that works in research and innovation development runs the risk of infringement, and if their novel invention is infringed upon, it could result in a significant loss. A patent for an invention is required to safeguard the startup and foster its protection. The government has launched the SIPP program with the intention of advancing the nation’s research and development, and an increasing number of startups are now participating in this program.