Patent is one of the pillars of Intellectual Property (IP). A patent gives its owner the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, and importing an invention for a limited period of time, usually twenty years. A Patent provides exclusive rights to the Patent Owner and restricts others from using the patented technology. These rights also exclude others from selling, making, using and importing patented technology for a time duration, which is twenty years in India. This concept of exclusivity provides a cutting edge advantage to the Patentee to launch the monopolistic products in the market and maximize their revenue. This can also be verified from the fact that almost every known company in today’s scenario is going towards having Patent Protection.
Now the question arise is “how to get these Patents in India”? Indian Patent System has following stages during the lifecycle of a Patent which are depicted below in flow chart shown below:
Patent life-cycle flow chart
The first stage in life cycle is patent filing after drafting a provisional/complete specification, which is followed by publication of patent application. The Publication of Patent Application takes place in the Patent Journal issued by Indian patent office. The publication of a patent application takes around 18 months from the Priority date/ date of Filing (whichever is earlier). The publication is followed by next stage i.e. “Examination of patent application” by Indian Patent Office: A Request for Examination (RFE) has to be submitted to Patent Office after Publication of Patent and within 48 months of Priority Date / Date of Filing (whichever is earlier).The publication stage is next followed by examination stage of patent application. The examination reports i.e. First examination reports (FER’s) are being issued by Indian patent office. The Patent Office provide an Examination Report after checking the patent application on grounds of the Patentability Criteria and provides the First Examination Report (FER). Response for the objections are raised in FER has to be submitted within 6 month of date of Issuance of FER, which can be further extended to three months. After submission of response to FER by the applicant, the Controller of Patent consider all the objections and check whether all the objections have been compiled or not. The controller then either issue a hearing notice and appoint a hearing or may grant patent application and publish the patent application in official journal accordingly. Once the patent is granted, Annual Fees are required to be paid on and after third year of grant of the Patent. Annuities are required to be paid each year throughout the life of the patent i.e. 20 years from the Priority Date / Date of Filing (whichever is earlier).