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The Aspects of Patenting in e-Commerce Industries

The blog takes the readers into understanding the aspects of patenting in e-commerce industries. It explains the intricacies associated with the process of making such a patent application

The Aspects of Patenting in E-commerce Industries

A patent is an assurance or an official document, provided by the government or any similar body to an inventor to exclude others from making, using or selling his invention. The main idea of patenting is to encourage any kind of technological, scientific or economical invention by rewarding the solo inventor or intellectual. Laws pertaining to patent applications in different countries of the world are in sync with globally recognized patent laws. The most popular is TRIP (Trade-Related Property Rights). Under this TRIPs agreement, the patent protection period is 20 years almost in all fields pertaining to economics and commerce. After this, a process of renewal can be enacted depending on the market dynamics.

Defining of E-commerce Business: The Basics

It can be defined as a commercial or business transaction, that happened electronically or digitally over the internet. For example, we can refer to Amazon and Flipkart. During the last two years of the pandemic, the e-Commerce business is booming worldwide. E-Commerce business needs protection for the usage of new techniques, business strategies, licensing, outsourcing, contracting resources etc. etc. For example, Amazon has the patent for a very popular “one-click” technology which helps their customers to buy things with a single click. 

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The Process of Patenting

To obtain a patent we have to follow a set of standard procedures: 

  1. Filling a complete application/Provisional application: This is the first step toward getting a patent in India. The filing date is considered the date of the patent. To file a complete application, you have to disclose the set of claims whereas in the case of filing a provisional application, you get a timeline of 12 months to disclose the complete specifications. There is no extension available beyond this point. 
  2. Patent Co-operation Treaty (PCT) International application: An Indian applicant has to file a PCT within 12 months of filing a provisional application, which helps him to seek patent protection for his invention internationally. 
  3. Conventional application: It is known as a non-provisional patent application, which the patent office will review before approving your patent. 
  4. Publication: Publication of patent applications happens after 18 months from the date of filing of provisional applications related to a particular product. However, the applicants can request an early publication (within 9 months after filing the provisional application) by paying a prescribed amount. 
  5. Pre-grant opposition: After the publication happened, anybody can file a pre-grant opposition within a six months period of time. 
  6. Examination of the specifications: Under Indian patent laws, examination is not an automatic procedure, instead the applicant or any third party requests the concerned authority to conduct the examination after 48 hours of filing the provisional application. Here also the applicant can request for an early examination by paying a pre-fixed amount. 
  7. The issue for the first examination report: Within a period of 12 months, the first examination report should be filed as per norms. 
  8. Notice to grant/reject the patent application: Once the examination report gets validated, based on that the applicant gets a notice either for a grant or for rejection. 

How Long Did an E-commerce Business Got Patented in India

The E-Commerce market is growing significantly in India. There is speculation that it would grow by 21.5%, reaching US$ 74.8 billion by 2022. There is a prediction that by 2030 it would reach to US$ 350 billion. 

For the e-Commerce business in India, the government has set a patent period same 20 years which is in harmony worldwide. Indian e-Commerce companies need to go through the same procedure to get their patent protection just like the other industries or personal inventions. 

India has become the third largest country with a 140 million online shoppers. Despite the impact of the pandemic, the Indian e-Commerce sector created a huge record in festive season shopping worth US$ 9.2 billion in gross merchandise value which is 23% higher than that of last year (US$ 7.4 billion).

What Have Been Some of the Major Developments in Indian E-commerce Industry Over the Last Few Years?

  • The Indian e-Commerce industry has received a huge amount of investment, consisting of US$ 15 billion during the last financial year. So far, this is the highest ever investment received by any industry in India. 
  • In Feb 2022, a courier and cargo shipment company named XpressBees emerged as a unicorn by generating a valuation of US$ 1.2 billion. 
  • In Feb 2022, Amazon India has introduced a new technique named one district one bazaar. This will support the MSME(Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises), Government of India. Through this technique, local artisans get an opportunity to do online business under the security of Amazon. 
  • In Feb 2022, one more popular e-Commerce platform, Flipkart introduced the “sell back programme”. It helps buyers to trade using smartphones. 
  • In Jan 2022, Flipkart brought a bigger change by introducing grocery delivery facilities across 1800 Indian cities. 
  • In Sep 2021, the biggest car re-selling company in India Cars24 has raised US$450 million. 
  • In Sep 2021 Amazon launched their entertainment segment named Prime, which offers a high definition video and audio entertainment to their subscribers against a pre-fixed membership package. 

Apart from all these, there are a number of e-Commerce industries have emerged in the Indian business sector. For example, Licious, Kirana.com, Nykaa, Freshtohome, Bigbasket (recently taken over by TATA) and many more. So our economy is relying upon this particular industry for better economic development. Therefore, before making a patent application, it is important that you understand the intricacies associated with the same.

Conclusion:-

Indian e-Commerce is now the centre of attraction from a global perspective. It has a growing customer base apart from China and the US. E-retail market is showing a consistent growth. It has registered a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 35% to generate 1.8 trillion in financial year 20-21. Indian e-Retail industry has a projection to attract 300-350 million shoppers which in turn, shoot up the GVM (Gross Merchandise Value) to US$ 100-120 billion by the end of 2025. In order to apply for a patent to develop such an e-commerce chain, it is important that you understand the intricacies associated with the process.

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