Patent Laws in India and its Development

A legal privilege given to the creator to safeguard their creation is the intellectual property right. It is the owner's legal right to safeguard their creations by forbidding others from using or copying them for a predetermined period of time. This allows them to enjoy their property without the interference of others. As a result of human innovation, intellectual property is an intangible asset. Intellectual property comes in many different forms, such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, geographical indications, etc. Intellectual property rights offer an individual the only right to utilize his or her creation, which implies that no one else is allowed to reproduce or use it without that individual's prior consent.

What is Patent Law?

Like trademarks, copyright, etc., patents are a subset of intellectual property rights.

  • The Latin word "Patere," which means "to lay open" or "make available for public examination," is the root of the English word "patent."

A patent is a license that grants the owner an exclusive right or title to prevent others from creating, using, or selling an invention for a set amount of time. Patent infringement is the violation of this exclusive right or title.

Patent Laws in India

The Indian Patents and Designs Act of 1911 were replaced by the Patents Act of 1970 and the Patents Rules of 1972 on April 20, 1972.

The Ayyangar Committee Report, which was led by Justice N. Rajagopala Ayyangar, had many recommendations that became the foundation of the Patents Act.

  • One of the suggestions was to limit the use of product patents to those pertaining to inventions in the fields of chemicals, medications, Ayyangar Committee Report, which was led by Justice N. Rajagopala Ayyangar, had many recommendations that became the foundation of the Patents Act.

  • One of the suggestions was to limit the use of product patents to those pertaining to inventions in the fields of chemicals, medications, food, and medicine.

In an effort to strengthen its patent legislation and align itself with the modern world, India later signed up to a number of international agreements. Becoming a participant in the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) system was one of the crucial stages towards reaching this goal.

Brief History of Patent Laws in India

Act VI (1856) was cited as the commencement of India's patent system.

  • The main objective of the Act was to encourage the development of new, profitable industries and to encourage innovators to share their ideas and make them available to the general public.

  • The Act was repealed by Act IX of 1857 because it had been passed without the British Crown's consent. New rules were established for granting "exclusive privileges" by Act XV of 1859.

By increasing the priority duration from six months to a year and awarding exclusive paybacks to only valuable innovations, this Act specifically amends the preceding judgment. Under the Act, importers were excused from having to show that they were the originators. Later, in 1872, 1883, and 1888, the Act was changed three more times.

  • The Indian Patent Laws and Design Act of 1911 eliminated all basic laws. The Indian Patent and Design Act of 1911 were modified by the Patents Act of 1970 and the Patent Rules of 1972, which went into effect on April 20, 1972. The recommendations of the Rajagopala Iyengar-chaired Justice Ann's Ayyangar Committee served as the foundation for the Patent Act. One option was to issue process patents for inventions pertaining to drugs, medicines, food, and chemicals.

The Patents (Amendment) Act, which was passed in 2005, updated the 1970 Patents Act once more and extended product patents across all technological sectors, including those involving food, medicine, germs, and chemicals. Following the modification, special marketing rights (EMR) terms were removed, and a clause authorizing the issuance of compulsory licenses was introduced. There are additional provisions for anti-post-grant and anti-pre-grant demonstrations.

Let’s discuss it in list format as given below −

  • In 1856: The British Patent Law of 1852 served as the foundation for Act VI's 1856 protection of inventions. For a 14-year term, new manufacturers and innovators are given some exclusive privileges.

  • In 1859: Act XV Patent Monopolies, Also Known as Exclusive Privileges, Modified the Act (making. Selling and using inventions in India and authorizing others to do so for 14 years from date of filing specification).

  • In 1872: The Protection of Patterns and Designs Act.

  • In 1883: The Act to Protect Inventions.

  • In 1888: The Inventions & Designs Act was consolidated.

  • In 1911: The Act on Indian Patents and Designs.

  • In 1999: The Patents (Amendment) Act, (1999) went into effect on March 26, 1999, replacing January 1, 1995.

  • In 2002: Beginning on May 20, 2003, the Patents (Amendment) Act 2002 went into effect.

Development of Patent Laws in India

There are some points which can easily describe the status of development of patent laws in India-

  • India has a low level of IPR awareness.

  • A patent is similar to owning an elephant. According to T.A. Edison, a patent is a license to sue.

  • The US Patent Office receives between 350,000 and 400,000 patent applications annually. Chinese patent offices really receive a greater volume of applications. The number in India is one-tenth of that in the US. Every year, we get over 40,000 applications.

  • The majority of applicants are from foreign nations or are foreigners.

  • The Indian Justice Administration System, which will ultimately be responsible for enforcing IPRs, is understaffed and has not yet become used to the subtleties of IPR litigation.

  • Unfortunately, the Indian formal legal system still functions largely as a colonial system of law.

  • In addition to engaging senior attorneys and reasonably well-paid IPR solicitors, a person claiming damages for patent infringement must pay an outlay fee at the rate of 7.5% ad valorem.

  • Compared to other countries, India has fewer IPR cases. More than 60 to 70 percent of IPR cases involving disputes are trademark-related. Approximately 20% of works are protected by copyrights. A small percentage of instances involve patents.

Patentability Requirements in India

Every invention does not always receive a patent. Once the owners' innovation complies with the requirements for patentability, a patent is issued to them. The list of exclusions that are not viewed as inventions and are therefore not eligible for patent protection is provided in Sections 3 and 4 of the Patent Act, 1970. The inventor must fulfill three requirements before he or she may obtain a patent for their creation. These include the following −

  • It follows that the invention should not already exist, as it should be original.

  • A commercial application for the invention should be possible.

  • It must be a substantial advancement over the prior invention in order for the invention to qualify as non-obvious.


As seen by the changes made to bring India up to pace with the rest of the modern world, India has always understood the need for a strong patent system for the growth of industry and commerce. Most nations are now seeking economic prospects as a result of India's implementation of the product patent policy. The number of patent applications has significantly increased. All areas of technology have inventors and innovators who are passionate about safeguarding their intellectual property.


Q1. Who can not apply for patent?

Ans. According to Section 134 of the Patents Act, a person from a country that does not provide its citizens with the same rights regarding the issuance of patents and the protection of patent rights as it does to its own nationals is not permitted to file for a patent in India.

Q2. What is the term of a patent in the Indian system?

Ans. Every patent is awarded for a 20-year period beginning on the filing date. The term of the patent, however, will be 20 years from the international filing date recognized under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) for applications submitted under the national phase of the PCT.

Q3. What cannot be patented in India?

Ans. Other than microorganisms, plants and animals in whole or in any part, including seeds, varieties, and species, as well as essentially biological processes used in the creation or division of plants and animals a technique used in business, a computer program in and of itself, or algorithms.

Q4. What are the major types of Patent Laws in India?

Ans. Following are the major types of patent laws in India −

  • Patents Rules, 2003

  • Patent (Amendment) Rules, 2016

  • Biological Diversity Act, 2002

  • Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act, 2001

Updated on: 16-Mar-2023


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