The Indian Patent Office has been known to take between 2-8 years from the date of filing a patent application to grant the patent. As the term of the patent is 20 years from the date of filing, the long wait for the grant has proven especially frustrating for inventors whose inventions have a short life-span in the market. However, in one case, the entire process, from the filing of the patent application to the grant of patent has taken less than 7 months.
This particular patent application pertained to Leafy Straws, as the inventor called them, which were made of bio-degradable material. The inventor was Mr. Saji Verghese, a professor of English at Christ University, Bangalore. Inspired by the natural curling of coconut leaves, he was determined to find out whether he could make straws using these leaves. After multiple trials and a few errors, he arrived at a viable method of making straws using coconut leaves. The manufacturing process includes cleaning, scraping, boiling, rolling and gluing neatly cut leaf strips in a given order.
Mr. Verghese decided to apply for a patent for the straws themselves and the process of making these straws, through his company, Evlogia Eco-care. Accordingly, Evlogia Eco-care filed an application for a patent on 29th August, 2018, and the application was published within a month, on 14th September 2018. Evlogia Eco-care filed the request for examination on 24th September 2019, for which the first examination report was received on 10th October 2018. As the company is registered as a start-up under the DIPP scheme, it was eligible for an expedited examination of its patent applications before the Indian Patent Office.
The patent was granted on 18th March 2019, and published on 22nd March 2019.
The details of the patent are as follows:
Application No.: 201841032438
Patent No.: 309356
Title: BIO-DEGRADABLE MEANS FOR USE AS DRINKING STRAW, STIRRER AND CHOP STICK AND A METHOD THEREOF
Abstract: Bio-degradable means 100 for use as drinking straw, stirrer and chop stick and a method 200 for making the bio-degradable means 100 is provided. The bio-degradable means 100 includes at least one dried leaf strip 100S configured to be at least one of straight rolled and spiral rolled along an entirety of an elongated guide member R to facilitate formation of an elongated bio-degradable means 100. The dried leaf strip 100S is at least one of a coconut tree leaf strip, palm tree leaf strip and a plantain leaf strip. A bonding agent is applied at atleast one edge portion of each dried leaf strip 100S with respect to a length wise direction of the dried leaf strip 100S to maintain the elongated bio-degradable means 100 in rolled position.
Leafy Straws (with midrib) Leafy Straws (without midrib)
While it is true that this particular application benefitted from not facing any pre-grant oppositions and swift action on part of the Patent Office, it also illustrates the advantages of directly filing the complete specification for inventions that are ready to be patented, filing a request for examination along with or immediately after the patent application, and responding well within the deadlines to the FER.
The 2016 amendment to the Patent Rules imposed stricter timelines on the Patent Office as well as applicants for all stages of the patent process. This has considerably shortened the length of the patent process for a large number of applicants, especially for applicants who have adhered to deadlines and have not sought extensions.
Besides providing a longer effective term of protection (between the grant and the expiry of the patent), getting an early grant also gives inventors/applicants other advantages like stronger enforcement against potential infringers, better opportunities for monetisation, and a higher valuation for the patent portfolio on the whole.
This efficiency is also beneficial for the start-up ecosystem and inventors in general, as it could lead to greater confidence among investors, licensees, and other parties; and encourage the filing of more patent applications which take advantage of early publications and expedited examinations.
BananaIP is happy to have represented and advised Mr. Verghese in filing his patent application and obtaining one of the fastest grants from the Indian Patent Office.