foreign filing license- FFL in India

What is Foreign Filing License?

As per Section 39 of the Indian Patents Act, 1970 when any inventor (resident in India), wants to file a patent application first in a foreign country, for any reason, it is necessary to obtain an FFL from the Indian Patent Office. It is basically a written permission obtained from the Indian Patent Office.

What Indian Patent Act say about it?

Section 39 read with Rule 71 of the Patent Rules, 2013 restricts the Indian Citizens to file for patent application without obtaining permission from the Indian Authorities.

When do you need to apply for Foreign Filing License?

    • If the investor is of the opinion that the said invention
    • Holds low scope or market in India
    • Invention might not fall under the patentability criteria. 
    • Grant of FFL waives off the mandatory requirement of filing patents in India and allows the applicant to file the application directly in foreign countries.
    • After obtaining FFL, the waiting period of Six Months is waived off. 
    • National Security: IPO mandates patent applicants to obtain FFL or NO-objection from the IPO to file a patent application outside India, reason being, certain inventions might have direct impact on defence strategies of the country. Such inventions may be detrimental to the safety, security, and warfare of the country.
    • Failure to obtain permission to file for patent application outside India will lead to heavy penalties, therefore FFL is mandatory.

    Eligibility Requirements to apply Foreign Filing License

    Any resident of India who wishes to file the patent application outside India Nationality not important, ROI is sufficient (ROI refer Section 6 of Income Tax)

    When to do it?

    • Before filing the application outside India (or)

    • Has filed a first application in India and wants to file a patent application outside India before the expiry of six weeks from the date of filing of the Indian patent application.

    Documents Required:

    • Form 25

    • Details of the inventors and country in which the patent is to be filed.

    • Power of Authority from the inventor(s) residing in India

    • A brief write-up of the invention along with FFL Form

    • In case inventors who are not residing in India are also part of the invention, their details including name and address

    • In case the inventor has assigned the invention, details of the assignee including name, address

    • The countries in which the inventor(s)/assignee intends to file the application.

    • Reason for such application

    • Form 28- in case of small entity.

      Procedure to file Foreign Filing License (FFL): 

        To apply for FFL, the Indian Applicant has to request for such grant in Form 25. 

          Upon such request, IPO will scrutinize the application and check for the security and safety concerns. Once checked and if found to be in order, permission will be grated within 21 days (Rule 71(2)) of making the request. If the application pertains to defence of atomic energy purpose, it might be directly rejected.


          Fees: The Applicant has to make the required fee payment based on the category given below: 

          Application for FFL

          E-Filing

          Physical Filing 

          Natural person

          1600

          1750

          Small entity

          4000

          4400

          Other than small entity

          8000

          8800


          Penalty or Liability: Section 118 of the Indian Patent Act, 1970:

          If the patent applicant fails to comply with the procedural aspects or any other aspects of obtaining FFL- he shall be subject to imprisonment up to the term of two years and/or fine. 

          For more information on FFL please write to us at info@unimarkslegal.com