Patent Registration Procedure in India

To register a patent, filing a patent application is the first step to secure protection. The application is submitted to the Patent Office with set forms, along with the supporting documents and the prescribed fees. The complete process of patent registration takes about 3-5 years approximately.

The registration of Patents in India is controlled and looked after by the Controller of Trademark and Patents. Patent protection is provided on the basis of 'first to file'. Hence, it's important that the inventive process or product is not disclosed before seeking a patent registration.

Patent Procedure in India

Once the inventor files a patent application with the Patents Office, there will be a number of steps that are to be completed in order to secure protection. The entire patent registration process divides into 7 steps, as follows:

  1. Patent Search

Patent Search is done by searching for already granted patents and any published patents by using a patent search database. The patent search is done to check:

  • Patentability,
  • Infringement, and
  • Validity.
  1. Provisional Specification Application

Provisional specification or Provisional patent application is an initial step that is done by the inventor before filing a regular patent application.

This is done in a situation where -  the invention has reached a stage where proceeding to patent the invention is the best option to safeguard the right of the inventor, however, the practical applicability (industrial applicability) of the invention has not yet been ascertained to proceed for a regular patent. In such a situation, it is recommended to file a provisional application.

The Provisional patent application filed with the Controller of Trademark and Patent is a complete disclosure of the invention, but no claims are provided in the application.

A provisional application is considered advantageous because :

  • Saves priority date
  • Provides 12 month buffer period for filing a regular application (complete specification application)
  • The cost of a provisional patent application is comparatively lower from a regular application. 
  • The applicant can include a patent-pending tag on the invention to ward off competitors from using the invention for their commercial use.

More: How to draft provisional patent application?

  1. Complete Specification Application

Complete specification application to the patent office should be made in such a manner that the invention must be clear to the person who is skilled in that particular art.

Complete specification filed by the applicant must be a holistic attempt at describing and defining the invention, so that, the patent office does not raise any objections.

The complete specification application must include:

  • Title of the invention
  • Description of the invention
  • Should have at least one claim for the invention, and
  • One drawing to illustrate the working of the invention. (In some situations, the patent office can ask for a working model or a prototype)
  1. Publication of Patent in Official Journal

Once a patent application is filed with the patent office, the patent office publishes the patent in the official journal after 18 months from the date of filing. The published patent is open to the public for objections against the same if any.

  1. First Examination Report (FER)

Examination report is not issued automatically by the patent office. A person who has applied for a patent (or a third-party interested in the application) can file a request for the examination report. Examination requests can be made to the patent office by paying the prescribed fees. The application for the examination should be made within 48 months of the priority date of the application. Any applicant that does not file application for examination within 48 months is considered abandoned or withdrawn.

  1. Reply To Examination Report

The patent application is analyzed by the patent office to check the patentability and other basic shortcomings in the patent application. The FER sent by the patent office should be analyzed thoroughly for objections and any amendments to be made in the complete specifications. Filling a notable response eases the patent application process.

  1. Patent Granted or Patent Denied

Once all the objections raised in the examination report have been submitted, and the examiner of the patent is satisfied with the application then, the patent office will grant the patent. Whereas, if the examiner of the patent is not satisfied with filed reply they can deny the grant of the patent.

Patentability of Invention

An Invention, to be considered patentable, should meet the following 3 criteria as mentioned in the Patents Act.

  • Novelty
  • Industrial Applicability
  • Non-obviousness

Ways to File Patent Application

Patent application to the Patent office can be made in 2 forms, i.e. either electronically or through a physical filing made at an appropriate office.

The patent office charges 10% more fees than if the patent application is filed online.

Who can file a Patent application?

The patent application, according to section 6 and 134 of the Patents Act, can be filed by:

  1. The person who has conceived the idea, i.e. the inventor. If there are more than one contributor or inventor, then both inventors should be listed in the claims.
  2. The legal representative of the inventor can also file a patent application after the death of the inventor.
  3. The person assigned by an individual who is claiming to be the first or the actual inventor.

Patent application once obtained will last for a period of 20 consecutive years. During this period the inventor or the assignee has a monopolistic right over the use of the invention.

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