IP protection in India

You can register intellectual property (IP) protection in India for patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.

The office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks is the government body responsible for the administration of patents, designs and trade marks in India. These are registered through the Indian Patent Office (IPO).

Trade mark and patent applications can be filed online but designs can only be filed manually.

The IPO provides searchable trade mark, patent and design databases.

Domain names are monitored by the National Internet Exchange of India.

Legal procedures in India can take some time.However, the costs of filing, registration and litigation are relatively low compared to Australia.

Applicants who do not have a place of business in India are required to file applications through an Indian attorney or agent.

Trade marks

  • India has a first to use rule for obtaining trade mark rights. This means the first person to use a mark in India will generally have superior rights to a person who files a trade mark application at a later date.
  • A trade mark may be cancelled if it is not used within five years from registration and a third party brings an action for removal of the trade mark.
  • Protection is available for non-traditional trade marks such as three-dimensional signs.
  • Customs regulations provide cross-border measures to protect IP rights.
  • India intends to shortly become a signatory to the Madrid Protocol, which will permit the filing of a single trade mark application with the effect of potential protection in multiple countries.


  • Only one type of patent is available in India.
  • Indian patent examiners commonly raise clarity objections, which means that a higher number of modifications may be required to make patent specifications compliant with Indian practice.
  • Some things cannot be patented in India.


  • Design protection is available in India for a 10 year period, with renewal possible for a further five years. Applications must pass a substantive examination and the process usually takes six to nine months.

Plant varieties

  • Plant variety rights can be protected in India for up to 18 years, depending on the type of plant.

Geographical indications

  • Geographical indications are registrable for a term of 10 years, with 10 year renewal options. The applicant can be any association of persons or an authority established by law that represents the interests of producers.
Last updated: 
22 March 2016