October 04, 2019

India introduces new Patents (Amendments) Rules

The intellectual property office of India has officially announced the Patents (Amendments) Rules. Initially drafted in December 2018, the new rules entered into effect upon their publication in the official Gazette on September 17, 2019.

The new amendments allow for the possibility of expedited examination for certain groups of applicants, including both foreign applicants and those domiciled in India. These groups of eligible applicants include: small entities; natural individual or group applicants who are female, or in the case of joint applicants, with at least one female in the group; and specific government departments, institutions, sectors or companies (as defined by the rules.)

Prior to the enactment of the new rules, expedited examination was only possible for filings submitted by start-up companies or applications whereby India is indicated as the ISA or elected as an IPEA in the corresponding international application. These provisions will remain in place alongside the aforementioned new permitted categories, and evidence must be served to prove eligibility for expedited examination.

The new rules also allow for a more efficient system of providing documents to the patent office. The previous method was to file documents electronically followed by the serving of physical documents to the Indian Patent Office within 15 days from the date of filing of the scanned copies, however, all documents may now be served solely by the electronic method. This applies to all documentation unless otherwise requested in physical form by the patent office. In the case that physical documentation is requested, the time limit for serving of these documents remains at 15 days from the date of request.

The new rules allow for a more efficient and streamlined patent application process in India, and it is hoped to encourage an increase in patent applications.

Author: Danielle Carvey