Expediting Patent Examination in India
If a man is keeping an idea to himself, and that idea is taken by stealth or trickery-I say it is stealing. But once a man has revealed his idea to others, it is no longer his alone. It belongs to the world.” ― Linda Sue Park
Patents allow companies with innovative products to benefit from their research and development by giving them exclusive right to make and sell these products, usually for a period of 20 years.
A delay in granting patents prevent companies from commercializing their products whereas a quick grant of patent allows the companies to fully enjoy their patent rights by providing an opportunity to capitalize.
“We are born rich, it is for us to decide between materialistic poorness or building upon intellectual richness.” ― Vishwas Chavan
Technology is moving at a very fast pace. By the time a technology is developed and commercialized it’s more efficient alternative is in the pipeline. So in today’s age where patent rights play a vital role in encouraging innovations across the globe, a timely grant of patent is imperative.
One of the problem in Indian Patent System is that patent grant process in India takes a long time and there is a huge backlog of pending patent applications in Indian Patent Office. A patent application takes on average 6 years to get approved in India.
A faster prosecution of patents requires an efficient working of the Indian Patent Office and active compliance from the applicants. Also an important factor behind the delay is shortage of patent examiners. With increased examiners and controllers it is expected that the time for patent grant will come down.
“The patent system added the fuel of interest to the fire of genius” -Abraham Lincoln
Moreover, Indian Patent Office has launched many new initiatives directed at faster examination of patent applications one such initiative is expedited examination routine which application is taken out of the normal queue and examined. Patents are granted within a time frame of 12-15 months and office action is issued within 3-4 months of submitting the request for expedited examination.
“Intellectual property is a key aspect of economic development” – Craig Venter
The following category of applicants can use this expedited examination route according to Patent rules amended in 2016-
(i) A Startup Company which according to the said rule is a an entity involved in research and development, is not more than 5 years old and does not have an annual turnover of 25 crores of Indian currency.
(ii) A patent applicant which has selected India as the International Searching Authority in the PCT application corresponding to the Indian Applicant.
If an applicant satisfies the above criteria but has already filed the Request for Examination(RFE), can convert the already filed RFE to an expedited one by paying balance fee.
Patent Office adds the flame of interest to the light of creativity. And that is why we need to improve the effectiveness of our Patent Office”. – Abrahm Lincoln
Procedure of expedited examination-