New Delhi: To improve India’s intellectual property regime, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has simplified the rules for registering trademarks and slashed the number of trademark application forms to eight from 74.

DIPP, which notified the Trade Mark Rules 2017 on Monday to replace the rules of 2002, however, hiked the fee for trademark applications to Rs10,000 from Rs4,000.

“The application fee was last increased in 2009. We are much cheaper compared to developed countries even after the increase in fee," a DIPP official said speaking under condition of anonymity.

To promote e-filing of trademark applications, the fee for online filing has been kept at 10% lower at Rs9,000. For individuals, start-ups and small enterprises, the fee has been reduced to Rs4,500 from Rs8,000 proposed in the draft rules. “Overall fees have been rationalized by reducing the number of entries in Schedule I from 88 to just 23," a DIPP statement said.

DIPP also extended the provisions relating to expedited processing of an application for registration of a trademark up to registration stage. So far, it was only available up to examination stage.

To expedite the whole process, e-mail has been made essential for services to be provided by the applicant or any party to the proceedings and so that the office communication from the applicant to the registry and vice versa may be sent through email. While the number of adjournments in opposition proceedings has been restricted to a maximum of two by each party to dispose of matters in time, hearing through video conferencing has also been introduced.

DIPP has also for the first time laid out modalities for determination of well-known trademarks for brands that enjoy good reputation in the market. A brand can apply for the same after e-filing for a fee of Rs1 lakh.

In January this year, the examination time for a trademark application was brought down from 13 months to just one month despite a 35% jump in trademark filings in 2015-16 over the previous year.

“The new rules call for enforcement of strict timelines for trademark registration by reducing the number of forms and expediting the process as a whole. A trademark registration which would earlier cost anything between Rs3,500-Rs4,000 has been raised to Rs5,000 for small industries and start ups and Rs10,000 for larger companies. I see this as a shift towards encouragement and focus towards start ups and innovation. It can be seen as an attempt to integrate IP (intellectual property) with digital schemes like Digital India," said Prathiba Singh, a leading IP lawyer.

DIPP has also set the target of lowering the time taken to clear pending patent applications from the current five to seven years to 18 months by March 2018.

Priyanka Mittal contributed to this story.