New rules proposed by the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry are designed to streamline the examination procedure for patent applications at the Indian Patent Office.  The proposed new rules went out to public consultation in November 2015, with changes expected to come into force during 2016.

Shorter Period for Putting Application in Order for Grant

The most important changes contained in the draft Patents (Amendment) Rules 2015 are those to the examination procedure, with a focus on reducing the time it takes to process applications.  For example, the period for putting an application in order for grant will be reduced to four months (instead of the current 12 months) from the date of receipt of the First Examination Report.

With the intention of reducing the number of applications in the queue awaiting examination, the proposals also include a provision allowing applicants to withdraw a previously filed examination request.  They would then receive a refund of the examination fee.

New Expedited Examination

Under the proposed amendments, applicants may file a request for an expedited examination process.  The official fee payable for this is likely to be around US$3,800.  The request must meet at least one of the grounds which comprise the country’s so-called ‘Made in India’ campaign, namely:

(a) If there is a corresponding International (PCT) application, the applicant has designated the Indian Patent Office as the International Searching Authority (ISA) and/or International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA); or

(b) The applicant has already started manufacturing of the invention in India; or

(c) The applicant undertakes that manufacturing the invention shall commence within two years from the date of grant of the patent.

The application concerned should not contain more than 20 claims.  Upon receipt of a request for expedited examination, the Indian Patent Office will be required to issue a First Examination Report within one month from the date the application reaches the Examiner.

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