A patent is a monopolistic right granted by the government for a specific period of time in return for the disclosure of an invention which is in conformance with the patent laws of a country. The protection for the invention is initiated by making a strategy as to how and when a patent application should be filed and this monopolistic right comes to an end 1 year after the payment of the 20th year annuity/maintenance fee. The life cycle of the patent application undergoes similar stages in almost all countries. Filing of an application is followed by its publication, later examined and granted based on the outcome of the examination. A patent, if granted, has to be maintained based on the laws of the respective countries. A grant of the patent may be opposed in several ways.
Since patent rights are territorial in nature, patent protection can only be availed of and enjoyed in countries where the application is filed. Deadlines with respect to filing an application (complete specification, convention application, national phase application) have to be stringently followed. An exception to this rule is when the priority application is post-dated. This leads to a shift in the priority date thereby posing a challenge with respect to overcoming prior art. Publication of the application brings the invention into the public domain and most jurisdictions, including India, invite the public to reveal any information which, to the best of their knowledge, can assist the patent office in examining the application thoroughly. In India, a patent application does not undergo examination unless an express request is made in this regard, within 48 months from the date of priority.
A patent application has to be stringently examined and granted only if it conforms to the patent laws of the country. In India, the deadlines to file a request for examination and responding to office actions are non-extendable unlike in the US, where extensions up to 6 months are available. Once granted, the annuity fee due, till the date of grant has to be paid. The grant of an application is also published in the official gazette inviting any opposition from interested persons. Also, statements with respect to working-of-patents have to be timely filed.
The presentation on the life-cycle of a patent application and a granted patent will give you a glimpse on how the process works and the deadlines to be adhered to in India, so as to avail and savor patent rights.