A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides, in general, a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem. To get a patent, technical information about the invention must be disclosed to the public in a patent application.
The Indian IP system is continuously being criticised in the global media and in the IP world as being slow to grant/ register IP rights; to some extent even the local IP counsels and professionals add fuel to this In various platforms it has often been stated that the delay in the grant of patents in India is often a deal breaker for a lot of companies.
This is the image that has been created and the purpose of this article is to clear the fog and provide a clear picture. In the past few years, particularly after the digitising process, the Indian IP office is one of the more sophisticated IP offices in the world. It is among the few IP offices in the world which offers 100% digitisation of every process including video conferencing of hearings. Furthermore, one of the attributes of Indian IP offices is that the filing for registration of a trade mark, copyright, patent and design applications, can be done 24×7 on any day of the week. In order to improve efficiency there are four autonomous Patent Offices and five Trade Mark Registries in India which are exclusive in itself. The best talents are being hired by the Patent and Trade Mark offices for the examination process and I have had the unique privilege to train some of these talented individuals. There have been recent discussions regarding lackadaisical working of the Indian IP offices but I would like to throw light on the Indian IP offices expediting the internal examination process for speedy grant/registration of IP rights.
A Patent Application was filed on 15thNovember, 2016 for “A Process for Preparation of Quinophthalone” bearing application No. 201621038962. An application for expedited examination of the patent application was filed on 27th May, 2017. After the substantial examination of the application, the first examination report was issued, the response to which was filed by us promptly. The Application straight forward proceeded to grant and on 8th December i.e. the patent was granted in less than 13 months from the date of filing. This clearly debunks the myth that grant of patents in India are delayed. It is necessary to note that one of the major reasons for the patent application moving forward were the well drafted patent claims, the proper representation of invention disclosed therein and a quick and proper response to the Examination Report. Therefore, if the inventors and their consultants also ensure that their drafts unequivocally disclose the invention in the application, draft comprehensible claims, submit a proper response to the Examination Report issued by the Examiner there is a high possibility of the patent application being granted by the Controller in a year.
The Indian Patent Office, in recent times has ramped up its activities for instance; it has hired more patent examiners, is providing notifications regarding any formal defects in the application/patent compliance via e-mail to applicant of patent applications, patentees and patent agents and expediting the examination process of patent applications etc.
Furthermore, it is interesting to note that apart from the Patent Applications even Trade Mark applications have started moving forward expeditiously. For example we filed trade mark application No. 3496744 for the mark ‘Apodis’, in class 43, in March 2017 and the same was granted registration in September, 2017 i.e. within 6-7 months the trade mark was registered. This time period includes the 4 months statutory period of publication of the trade mark in the journal which allows third parties to file an opposition if the advertised trade mark is similar to their trade mark. We had taken care of all the formalities such as conducting a thorough search for the trade mark, filing the form of authorisation, submitting services specification approved by the Indian Trade Marks Office, to ensure a speedy grant of the registration.
Similarly, the Designs office has also in recent times granted Design registrations within a period of 2-3 months if the application is in order, for instance we filed Design No. 294922 for floor cloth on 21st June, 2017 and the certificate of registration for the same was issued on 25th August, 2017. Therefore, within a period of 2 months we were successful in obtaining design registration for our client.
It is fair to state that the Indian IP offices are adhering to the time lines specified in the respective statutes, which is a step in the positive direction and should encourage more Universities, individuals, Start-Ups, Corporates to file patent and trade mark applications in India. It is necessary in such times to give credit to the patent and trade mark Examiners when it’s due. This will also help in boosting the confidence of the individuals involved in the process as well and dispel the myth of tardiness that surrounds the Indian IP scene.