The Indian Patent Office has released draft amendment rules on December 4th 2018. The majority of changes are aimed towards a) expediting examination of the applications and b) making pre-grant opposition proceedings procedure fair.
With respect to expediting the prosecution of the patent applications according to the current practice, the examination can be expedited only if the applicant was a start-up or India has been indicated as the competent International Searching Authority or elected as an International Preliminary Examining Authority in the corresponding international application.
The proposed rules will ensure more patent applicant/s be able to request for expedited examination. The expedited examination can now be availed by the female applicant/s, Government undertaking organizations and if the applicant is eligible under agreement between Indian Patent Office with another participating patent office. This is relevant in terms of recent update on Japan-India Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot program which is to be started in the year 2019.
In so far as pre-grant oppositions are concerned, the new rules provides for constituting the bench of controller/s for deciding pre-grant opposition matters in contrast to the single controller as per the existing practice. This will make the procedure fair and similar to the post-grant opposition proceedings where the opposition board examines the opposition.
The full copy of patent rules can be viewed from here.
The rules are open for any comments/suggestions, which are to be sent to Shri Sushil K Satpute, Director, DIPP, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India either by post or through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .