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Patents now Fast tracked through Expedited Examination at Indian Patent Office

Filling of the patent application before the Indian Patent Office is the first step towards securing the Patent rights for one’s invention in India. The application for the patent is submitted in the requisite forms along with the patent specification or a description of the invention with its full disclosure and best method of operation. The application filed before the Indian Patent office remains undisclosed until its publication in the official gazette or journal of the Patent office. Every patent application which is filed for protection has to be substantively examined before a patent is finally granted. In order to get one’s patent application with its specification examined; the applicant is required to file a request for examination which is a mandatory provision under the Indian Patent Act. The patent is then ordered with respect to grant or rejection based on examination outcomes. The applicant is generally given a chance of hearing before a patent is actually refused or rejected.

The general process of obtaining the patent in India requires a substantial timespan of 5 to 7 years. Until 2016 there was no straightforward way of expediting the examination of patent applications in India, but the patent rules have now been amended to allow this. The Indian Patent Office has started examining and grating the patents under expedited examination system. The patent applications are now being granted examined within 3 to 6 months after being requested for expedited examination. With the introduction of Patent amendment Rules 2016, there has now been a provision to expedite the patent application in India by the way of:

1. Indicating India as International Searching Authority (ISA) as an International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) in a corresponding PCT application;
2. Either the patent applicant must be a startup; or patent applicant was a startup at the time of filling the patent application;

The applications were invited under expedited examination system (for eligible applicants) after introduction of said rule through 2016 amendment of patent rules and now the patent office declares that it has started issuing orders accordingly. Since October 15, 2013 India started to work as International Search Authority (ISA) and International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA). For choosing India as ISA or IPEA authority the applicant should have filed the PCT application corresponding to the Indian Application.

The recruitment of more examiners and controllers has also added to the speed of prosecution and grant of patents in India. In case of expedited examination, the first examination report or the first statement of objection from the Indian Patent Office is issued to the applicant for the corresponding application within two months from the date of request for expedite examination, where further the final decision is taken within three months of filling the reply to the first examination report. This brings down the time period of the patent prosecution in India to substantial two to 3 years process which earlier was 6-7 years process.