The grant of patents can be viewed as an achievement/ reward for innovators and applicants as they enjoy monopoly and the privilege to keep others from attempting to infringe their patents. In a case where the grant procedure is postponed, which can be up to several years, the inventors fear that their technology may become outdated in the interim. With respect to the corporates, a deferred handling of the patent application is exceptionally disappointing as the patent working and licensing plans are disturbed. Indian Patent Office, for many years has been criticized for delayed process of grant of patent. However, there's a positive approach to the IPO process, where the patents are being granted in 11- 13 months from the date of First Examination Report (FER). However, recently there has been an instance where the patent was granted within four months and in another case in 8 to 9 months, wherein the objections were dealt with oral hearings, which further was followed by written submission of the aforesaid hearings. There have been many other instances where the respective cases were reexamined as soon as receiving the receipt of the communication response and of hearing notices, which helped in expediting the grant process even before the end of the deadline of the six months from the First Examination Report.
STEPS FOR CLEARING BACKLOGS
For acceleration of the grant process, the Patent Rules were amended in 2016 introducing the provision of expedited examination for those who select India as a competent ISA or IPEA or the applicant is a startup. In addition, the Indian Patent Office has also provided the provision for request of early publication under rule 24A.
In order to clear the backlogs, the Indian Patent office has appointed almost 450 new patent examiners to reduce the backlog in the patent examination. In addition, the Patent office has also reduced the time for placing the application for grant from twelve months to six months for filing the response to First Examination Report along with the extension up to three months. Further, automatic generation of the examination reports has been initiated, which are immediately sent to the applicants and the agents that saves a lot of delivery time.
The steps taken by the IPO to clear backlogs is an encouraging step for inventors to get their invention patented expeditiously.
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