The 5 Requirements for Patentability in India: Everything You Need to Know to Protect Your Invention

patentability india

Got a revolutionary new product or technology you want to launch in India? Seeking ironclad protection against copies and duplicates? Like inventors worldwide, filing for a patent in India is one of the smartest moves you can make.

But the patent filing process in India comes with stringent standards. To be granted a patent, an invention must satisfy five core patentability requirements as per the Indian Patents Act 1970.

Understanding these requirements in depth is crucial for inventors who want to safeguard their intellectual property in the Indian market.

This comprehensive guide will break down the five key requirements for patentability in India, offer tips and examples for meeting each one, and explain why hiring an Indian patent agent maximizes your chances of success. Let’s get started!


India’s patent system is designed to protect new inventions that demonstrate a marked improvement over existing knowledge in a technological field. For an invention to qualify for a patent in India, it must satisfy five main criteria:

  1. Novelty
  2. Inventive step
  3. Industrial application
  4. Enablement
  5. Non-obviousness

The bar for patentability in India is set quite high. Each year many applications are rejected for failing to sufficiently establish one or more of the requirements.

Navigating India’s patent application process and trademark registration process is vastly smoother with the guidance of a registered Indian patent agent. But familiarizing yourself with the five requirements will help you assess your invention’s patentability in India and communicate effectively with an agent.

Let’s look at each of the five requirements for patentability in India more closely.

The 5 Requirements for Patentability in India

1. Novelty

The invention must be new and novel compared to existing knowledge and prior art (previously patented or published inventions) in India and globally. It should not be an exact duplicate of already known products, processes, or technology.

Conduct thorough prior art searches in Indian and international patent databases to uncover similar inventions. Extensively document any similar patents or products and highlight what makes your invention completely new. This strengthens your claim to novelty.

For instance, if you have invented a new fishing net, point out specific novel features that distinguish it from existing nets already patented or sold in India. Minor tweaks to known inventions are not considered novel.

2. Inventive Step

The invention should demonstrate an inventive step, or feature, that is non-trivial and not obvious to a person having ordinary skill in that field of technology.

You need to establish that your invention sufficiently moves technology forward compared to the existing baseline. Minor improvements or adaptations to known technology are not considered inventive enough to deserve a patent.

For example, just inserting a GPS chip into an existing vehicle tracking device may be considered an obvious change, not an inventive step. But a vehicle tracker that can auto-alert emergency services in local languages during accidents would likely demonstrate a strong inventive step.

3. Industrial Application

The invention must be industrially applicable and capable of being made or used in some kind of industry.

This means software, algorithms, and business methods can only be patented in India if they have an industrial purpose and application. There should be adequate proof or indication that the invention has industrial utility and value.

For instance, a new e-commerce payment method should be described in context of how it would be implemented and its usefulness to online retailers in processing transactions.

4. Enablement

The invention must be clearly explained in the patent application to enable a person skilled in the same field to sufficiently understand, reproduce, and utilize it.

The application should provide enough materials, context, illustrations, formulas, flow charts, descriptions, and examples so that someone with similar knowledge could reconstruct, test, and use the invention without undue effort.

Omitting key details or being vague could lead to a patent rejection for lack of enablement. Use precise technical language relevant to the field while being as elaborate as possible.

5. Non-Obviousness

Even if the invention is new, inventive, and industrially applicable, it could still be considered too obvious by a skilled person to deserve patent protection.

Overcoming the non-obviousness requirement involves showing how your invention is not simply an aggregation of known techniques or a predictable variation of existing knowledge in the field.

Underline any unexpected, surprising, or counterintuitive aspects of the invention to argue why it moves sufficiently beyond the established baseline to warrant a patent. Bolster your case by having experts provide affidavits testifying the invention represents a non-obvious breakthrough.

Why Work with an Indian Patent Agent

Given the many nuances around meeting India’s patentability requirements, working with an authorized Indian patent agent offers huge advantages:

  • Expertise with Indian IP laws – Agents stay up-to-date on the Indian Patents Act and filing procedures, which differ from other countries.
  • Access to patent databases – Agents have access to sophisticated Indian patent search tools and databases helpful for uncovering relevant prior art.
  • Assessing patentability – They can evaluate your invention against requirements and advise if pursuing a patent seems viable.
  • IP protection strategies – Agents determine optimal types of patents and claims to maximize protection.
  • Drafting expertise – They know how to skillfully draft the necessary descriptions, claims, and application materials.
  • Communication skills – Experienced in corresponding with the Indian Patent Office to overcome objections and negotiate successful outcomes.
  • Cost savings – Hiring an expert from the start minimizes costly revisions and office actions down the road.
  • Objectivity – As third parties, agents provide impartial guidance inventors often lack being too close to their work.

Do not let worries about affordability deter you from seeking professional assistance. Robust patent protection pays for itself many times over by safeguarding your exclusive rights to commercialize a novel invention in India.

Patent Application Process in India

Here is a simplified step-by-step overview of the standard patent application process in India when working with a registered Indian patent agent:

  1. Initial consultation – Discuss invention background, sign engagement agreement, provide materials.
  2. Drafting patent application – Agent researches prior art, drafts complete application including descriptions, drawings, claims.
  3. Filing application – Agent reviews final application, files it with the Indian Patent Office.
  4. Examination – Patent office examines if requirements are satisfied. Issues examination report.
  5. Responding to objections – Agent modifies application as needed to overcome identified deficiencies.
  6. Grant of patent – If all requirements met satisfactorily, patent is granted.

The total process usually takes 3-5 years currently. Granted patents provide exclusive rights for 20 years from filing date.


Patenting an invention in India requires methodically demonstrating satisfaction of all five requirements – novelty, inventive step, industrial applicability, enablement, and non-obviousness.

Spend time upfront understanding the requirements and finding relevant prior art through searches. Then engage an authorized Indian patent agent to expertly craft and file the strongest application possible.

Their knowledge and experience with Indian patent law and the patent office’s procedures will prove invaluable to ultimately securing robust patent protection in India.

And of course, for support with the accounting, legal, and taxation aspects of growing your business in India, the expert team at Filingwala is always happy to help!

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