Proposed Patent Rules though supports education sector but discriminates between aided and unaided educational Institution
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade published the Draft Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2021 proposing amendments to the Patent Rules, 2003. The Government has invited objections and/or suggestions from the stakeholders for consideration.
The Draft though appears primarily to boost intellectual property and innovation environment in Educational Institutions, as it tends to provide benefits to the educational institutions in terms of fees and also have to right of expedited processing of application. However, at the same it discriminates between an aided and unaided educational institution.
It proposes to add definition of educational Institution, which is as under:
“— institution established by a Central, Provincial or State Act, which is owned or controlled by the Government, and is wholly or substantially financed by the Government.”
Here, the term “substantially financed” has the same meaning as in the Explanation to sec 14(1) of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) Act, 1971 according to which, a body or authority would be deemed to be substantially financed by the Government if not less than Rs. 25 lakhs grant or loan is given to such body or authority from Government Funds.
In order to ensure that educational Institution is an eligible educational Institution and can claim benefit of fees, the education institution must declare by filing Form-28 along with the required documentary evidence.
Further, the draft Rules also proposes to ease the burden on the educational Institution, in case of partial or complete transfer of application by educational Institution to person other than a natural person, start-up, small entity or eligible educational institution. In such case, difference of fees between the fees charged from the eligible educational institution and the fees chargeable from the transferee shall be paid by the new applicant along with the request for transfer.
Grant of Patent and time consumed in grant of patent has always been a time-consuming affair in our country. In this world of competitive innovation, time is essence in statutory creation of right. The Draft Rule therefor vests educational Institution with the right for filing a request for expedited examination in Form-18 A along with prescribed fee.
As mentioned above, one of the biggest reliefs proposed in this Draft Rules is benefit in concession of fees. The Schedule of Fees as appearing in the original rules has been reduced for the eligible educational institution for various activities by 80% of the prescribed fees.
The proposed amendment rules certainly are an effective measure to innovation and invention culture in educational institutions. But why this discrimination between aided and unaided educational institutions.
Is innovation and invention culture only required to be promoted in government / government financed educational Institution? Such culture and environment present in any educational institutions should be supported, irrespective of their character. “Inclusivity”, one of the pivotal principles of governance should not be restricted to social sector only but to extend to all others.