Authored by Gaurav Mishra
The Indian Patent Office appears to be breaking records with each passing day. From lightning fast publications to issue of examination reports and patent grants, the patent office is certainly en route to shedding off its sluggish and languid image. A few incidents – some experienced firsthand and others reported elsewhere are a testimonial to the patent office’s commitment to getting rid of the immense backlog that has been plaguing the offices and applicants alike.
In a very recent experience, one patent application bearing the number 201641003901 (accessible here) was published in the official journal of the Indian Patent Office in less than 2 hours of filing the request for early publication. The patent application has been filed by the inventors Dr. Kalyan C. Kankanala, Nitin Nair and Somashekar Ramakrishna and has been assigned to BananaIP Counsels. The invention titled “Methods and systems for providing updates related to IP” was filed as a provisional application on the 3rd of August 2016 and a complete specification for the same was subsequently filed on the evening of 3rd of August 2017. The projected date of publication would, therefore, have hovered around the date of 3rd January 2018 under normal circumstances. The applicants in the instant case, however, decided to opt for early publication of the application and therefore filed a request for the same with the Chennai Patent Office at 1:52 PM on the 4th of August 2017.
To the utter amazement of the applicant, the patent application was published in the official journal of the Indian Patent Office released around 4 PM on the 4th of August 2017. To add the icing on the cake, the application was also published and updated on the Indian Patent Advanced Search System (InPASS) within the next few minutes of the journal’s release. The whole exercise, it appears, was completed in less than 2-3 hours of making the request.
We have also come across several other record breaking incidents such as the issue of certified copies in less than 6 days of making the request, despite the fact that this request was made under normal circumstances under rule 133(1). One incident that gathered great attention recently was the grant of a patent in less than 4 months from the date of examination. Optimus Drugs (P) Ltd., filed a patent application numbered 201641014966 on the 29th of April 2016 and a patent was granted (patent no. 285091) to the invention titled “AN PROCESS FOR THE PREPARATION OF APIXABAN” on the 12th of July 2017. This would certainly suffice to presume that this was the fastest issue in the recorded history of the Indian Patent Office.
Measures taken in the recent past such as the recruitment of additional examiners and ushering in of the New IP Policy and Patent Amendment Rules, 2016 appear to be having their desired effect. A look at the statistics of the Indian Patent Office in terms of patent examinations and grants paints a clear picture of the speed with which the IPO is currently functioning. In the year 2015 -2016, a total of 6,326 patents were granted, whereas since the 1st of January 2017 till the 31st of July 2017, 6,896 have already been granted. With 5 more months to the completion of the year and the current rate of grants, this year is likely to see the highest number of patent grants than ever before. The number of patent applications examined so far in comparison to the previous year is also quite astounding. While there were only a total of 16,851 applications examined in 2015 – 2016, that figure has nearly doubled to 29,467 patent applications that have been examined in a short 7-month time span between the1st of January and the 31st of July this year.
Although the option of expedited examination is currently available only to startups and to applicants who have indicated or elected India as the ISA or IPEA in their PCT applications, the speed with which the IPO is disposing of the expedited examination cases and the regular cases is applause worthy. The Patent Office’s lightning speed in disposals is mirrored by the Trademark registry which has been churning out registrations at an unprecedented rate. This is perhaps apropos to the intensive IP policy development, promotions and incentivizing measures undertaken by the DIPP and the Government in the recent past.
Kudos once again to the Patent Office for doing such a fantastic job! We hope that the patent office continues to work with this kind of zeal for times to come.