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  Expediting Examination of Pending Patent Applications in India by the Indian Patent Office

  • We would like to share with all our valued Colleagues and Associates that the Indian Patent Office has amended the Patents Rules, 2003 by way of Patents Amendment Rule, 2013 wherein a sub rule 3 of Rule 4 is introduced, which we mention herein below:
    "(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-rule (2), the Controller may transfer an application for patent so filed, to head office or, as the case may be, branch office of the Patent Office."

    The above mentioned Rule is brought in, to empower the Indian Patent Office to transfer a Patent application to any branch of the Patent Office from its original branch office where the application was filed, for examination of the Patent application.

    The Controller General of Patents has now initiated a pilot project to develop and test a system of transfer of Patent applications among all the branches of the Patent Office. Initially they have selected 100 applications related to Electronics and Electrical Group from the Delhi Patent Office in which the request for examination was filed in August 2008 to test the system. These applications will be allotted to the Examiners/Controllers working in other three braches (Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata) through auto allocation system for examination of the application and issuing the first examination report which will be directly sent to the Applicant or his authorized Agent from the branch office where the examination is carried out.

    However, the Controller General of Patents has provided a facility to the Applicant/Agent to file the response and other documents related to that application at the original branch office where the application was filed. The Patent office provides an option to the Applicant/Agent to attend the hearing physically before the Controller/Examiner at the re-allocated branch office or to opt for a hearing through video conferencing facility provided at branch where the application for Patent was filed, just after selecting the applications for re-allocation. The choice of video conferencing or physical hearing has to given at the time of agreeing to inclusion of said application in the pilot project.

    The above project has been initiated for the following reason:-
    • To bring examination of applications (in the field of Electronics and Electrical engineering through this instance) in all the four Indian Patent Offices to the same level. In other words, till the examination of the application are not carried out in the New Delhi branch of pending applications, examination at all branches Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata will be kept on the hold.
    • To discourage the practice of forum shopping by selecting a particular branch of the Patent Office by the Applicant for filing and prosecuting the Patent applications simply because said branch was ahead of the other branches in examining applications in the relevant field.

    This system would also be helpful to bring all the branch offices at the same stage of examination. At present, Delhi branch office is examining the patent applications related to Electrical and Electronics Group in which the request for examination was filed in August 2008, while Mumbai branch Office is examining the patent application related to the same field in which the request for examination was filed in November 2009 which happened due to difference in number of Examiners available in a particular branch as well as number of applications filed. The Controller General of Patents may extend this system in full scope for all technical fields in near future.

    We hope that pilot project will be successful.
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