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Foreign Filing License FFL Permission in India| Patent Foreign Filing License (FFL) Law India

Is it Compulsory to have an Indian Citizenship to file a Patent in India?  How to get Foreign Filing License FFL in India?

Obtain Foreign Filing License FFL in India before filing Patent in Foreign Country

Foreign Filing License FFL, Highlights Of Amendments Made To Indian Patent Rules, 2016, Patents (Amendment) Rules 2016 - Controller General of Patents, (Amendment) Rules 2016 - Controller General of Patents Designs INDIA,

Foreign Filing License in India | Permission for Indian Patent Foreign Filing License FFL | India Foreign Filing Permission from the Indian Patent Office

As per Section 39 of the Indian Patent Act, an Indian Resident shall not apply for a foreign patent for the grant of the patent without obtaining a written Foreign Filing License FFL permit from the Indian Patent Office. However, if the patent applicant has already filed a Patent in India, he may file a foreign patent after 6 weeks from the date of Filing of Indian Patent Application.

Foreign Filing License FFL Under Section 39 of the Indian Patent Act:

“39. Residents not to apply for patents outside India without prior permission

(1)    No person resident in India shall, except under the authority of a written permit sought in the manner prescribed and granted by or on behalf of the Controller, make or cause to be made any application outside India for the grant of a patent for an invention unless—

(a)   an application for a patent for the same invention has been made in India, not less than six weeks before the application outside India; and (b)  either no direction has been given under sub-section (1) of section 35 in relation to the application in India, or all such directions have been revoked. (2)  The Controller shall dispose of every such application within such period as may be prescribed: Provided that if the invention is relevant for defense purpose or atomic energy, the Controller shall not grant permit without the prior consent of the Central Government. (3)  This section shall not apply in relation to an invention for which an application for protection has first been filed in a country outside India by a person resident outside India.”

In all other cases, the patent applicant or inventor must obtain Foreign Filing Permission from the Indian Patent Office.

Documents required for filing Foreign Filing License (FFL) before Indian Patent Office:

1. A brief description of the invention, title of the invention  including drawings, if any has to filed along with the Foreign Filing License (FFL) form. 2. Name and addresses of Inventor(s) who are ‘resident in India’ 3. Name of the countries in which the invention would be filed and reason for making such application 4. Name and addresses of assignee, if any 5.The name of the country/countries in which the patent application is expected to be filed after obtaining the Foreign Filing License (FFL) from Indian Patent Office 6. Power of Attorney from the inventor(s) or the patent applicant who are resident in India, where a patent agent/patent attorney is appointed to represent them before the Indian Patent Office.

It is advisable to take the first step of filing a patent application in India before the Indian Patent Office. However, a company or an individual can choose to file a patent application directly under PCT route as an international application other than in India,  or    in any  foreign country due to various grounds. The patent applicant may first file the patent application in the foreign country, for example USA due to market potential of the invention is in USA. In other case, the subject matter of the invention might be non-patentable in India or the patent inventor is based in other country but resident in India. In such situations, the patent applicant or patent inventors may require a Foreign Filing License (FFL) from the Indian Patent Office. 

The patent applicant or patent inventors need to obtain written permission from the Controller of Patents for the grant of foreign filing license and thereby, safeguard the patent inventor from criminal consequences under section 118 of The Indian Patents Act of 1970.

Patent protection – PM Modi said patent protection and IP rights are a major concern for Indian startups. The government will make IPR procedure transparent for stratups. Fast track mechanisms of startup patent applications – in order to allow startups to realise the value of their IPRs at the earliest possible. Patent applications of the startups shall be fast tracked for examination and disposal.

Frequently Asked Questions in Patents about Indian Patent Foreign Filing License FFL:

Q. I have two inventors who jointly devised an invention. One of the inventors is an Indian citizen and was living in India when devising the invention. These two inventors wish to file a priority patent application before the USPTO, which is a first filing of the invention. Does the Indian inventor need to seek government’s permission to file the invention abroad (i.e. in USA)? How to get FFL in India?

A. Yes, the Indian startup inventor need to seek government’s permission to file the invention abroad. We need to file for foreign filing licence with the Indian Patent Office under Section 39 of Patents (Amendment) Act, 2002, whereby no person resident in India shall, except under the authority of a written permit sought in the manner prescribed and granted by or on behalf of the Patent Controller, make or cause to be made any application outside India for the grant of a patent. The Controller disposes permission for filing abroad ordinarily within twenty one 21 days from filing such request before the Indian Patent Office.

Q. Can Indian Startup Companies directly file USA priority patent application before USPTO?

A. Yes, the Indian Startup Entity can directly file USA priority patent application before USPTO. However, Indian Startup Entity needs to obtain foreign filing licence (FFL) from the Indian Patent Office (IPO).

Highlights of the Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2016 | Patent Amendment Rules 2016 | Current Intellectual Property Laws in India

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