Ready for Patent grants in 18 months?

Most people who have filed for a Patent in India will definitely understand the phrase “Life is too short to wait”. Narrowing this concept to the life of a Patent, it is as short as 20 years. The Patent grant system in India is a rather slow process and easily eats up more than a quarter of the Patents Life. Furthermore, in the absence of a concept like the “Patent term adjustment” followed in the United States, filing a Patent in India can diminish the prospects of a good return in good time.

The world is growing exponentially and so is the technology needed to sustain such growth. In this fast paced scene of changing technology, a revolutionary invention can easily become obsolete to be replaced with a much newer invention in less than a couple of years. In such a scenario, the shelf life of the invention is merely 5-6 years. Now, placing this fact besides the Patent grant timeline in India, it becomes clear that the patent being granted after 6 -7 years from the date of making the patent application is actually a patent for an invention that is now either obsolete or near to becoming obsolete.

However, from the recent Make in India week event held at Mumbai – there appears to be a silver lining. Amitabh Kant, secretary, DIPP (Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion), Government of India has suggested that patents would be given within 18 months of application.

The road to achieving this is likely to pass through the IITs, who will be outsourced with some of the Patent office’s work. While it has always been said there is a need for industry-academia linkage, it was concluded at the event that more tie-ups between industry and institutes is necessary. Given that the growth potential is high, it can be supported best by industry-academia collaboration.

While the DIPP did come out with some good initiatives in the past year, like the Draft IPR Policy and Draft Patent Rules, 2015 which aimed at speeding up the Patent process, the same have not been discussed recently. If the DIPP really aims to achieve a speedy patent process, it also needs to speed up the process of discussing the policies and rules that need be brought in place before suggesting that Patents would be granted within 18 months. While the Indian Patent office recently appointed around 1,000 patent examiners with the objective to speed up the patent examination process, there is still some kind of visible lack in the speed, as the RFE queue has not managed to move beyond RFE’s filed in 2011.

While a Patent grant within 18 months would be a wonderful and most welcome change to Patent applicants, it is my personal opinion that a clear map on how the same would be achieved with preliminary results to validate these claims would certainly instill a sense of confidence not only among the Patent applicants but also the global IP fora.

References: 1 , 2

Authored by Gaurav Mishra

Contributed with the support of the Patents Division of BananaIP Counsels. For any patent related queries, please write to us at [email protected].

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