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Patents (Amendment) rules notified

New Delhi
May 11, 2006 

The Patents (Amendment) Rules 2006 have been notified by the government. Commenting on the Rules, Shri Kamal Nath, Minister of Commerce & Industry, has said that “the recent amendments to the Patents Rules represent yet another major step forward in India’s endeavour to develop a vibrant and user-friendly Intellectual Property Regime which would facilitate as well as encourage innovation and creativity”. The thrust of the Patents Rules is to introduce transparency, decentralize the functioning of Patent Offices, simplify the procedures and to make them user-friendly, he added.

Pursuant to the amendment to the Patents Act, 1970 as contained in the Patents (Amendment) Act, 2005, the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, has issued a Notification dated 5th May, 2006 published in the Gazette of India No. S.O. 657 (E) further amending the Patents Rules, 2003.

The Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2006 have been finalized through a consultative process involving Patent Attorneys, Industry Associations, Government Departments concerned and other stake holders. 

In order to decentralize as well as facilitate the patent administration, all patent related activities can now be performed by all the Patent Offices at Kolkata, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai. Patent applications are now to be mandatorily published within one month after expiry of the statutory period of 18 months and, in case of request for an early publication, the application is to be published within one month from the date of request. This step will introduce an element of certainty regarding the date of publication which was hitherto not available.

With a view to enforcing transparency and ensuring time bound disposal of patent applications, definitive time frames have been prescribed for various activities by the Patent Offices. A patent application now has to be referred to an Examiner within one month of a request for its examination. Further, the Controller will now be required to take a decision on the report of the Examiner within one month of its submission and the First Examination Report has also to be issued within six months of the date of request for examination of a patent application. The time for granting permission to file patents abroad has also been reduced to just 21 days.

In order to make the system user-friendly, timelines available for applicants and the public have also been extended. Accordingly, the time frame for making a request for examination has been extended from 36 to 48 months; time for filing a pre-grant opposition extended from 3 to 6 months; time for filing reply to pre-grant opposition extended from 1 to 3 months; and time for meeting the requirements of the First Examination Report increased to 12 months.