Indian Patent Office follows a well-defined patent prosecution procedure, which includes various deadlines and other documentary requirements. In general, such deadlines mostly begin from the priority date of the patent application.
Once a patent application has been filed with Indian Patent Office, the next step is patent publication.
Under normal circumstances, a patent application is published after 18 months from the date of filing or date of priority, whichever is earlier.
However, patent applicants can expedite the patent prosecution by filing request for early publication via Form 9, whereby patent applications are published within 6 weeks of filing said request. This can greatly reduce the time taken by patent office to complete post-filing steps, and patent applicants can easily save upto 18 months from the entire patent prosecution time period.
After filing a patent in India, a separate request for patent examination via Form 18 is required to be filed with Indian Patent Office. This request can be filed either at the time of filing patent application or anytime within 48 months from the earliest priority date.
Some patent applicants intend to delay patent prosecution process for business reasons as the claimed invention might need some time for being completely embodied as a commercially viable product. Hence, such applicants can take advantage of the 48 months timeline and file the patent examination request after few months / years of the patent filing date.
Alternatively, some patent applicants prefer to expedite the patent examination process by filing such examination request along with the patent application. This combined with a request for early publication can reduce the patent prosecution time period by approx. 18 months.
First Examination Report (FER) or Office Action
The patent examiner examines the contents of patent application to determine novelty, inventive step (non-obviousness) and industrial application. Thereafter, the patent office issues a set of objections generally known as the first examination report (FER) or the office action.
Office Action Response
The patent applicant is required to submit a response to office action (FER) within 12 months of issuance of said office action.
Grant of Patent
After receiving a satisfactory response from the applicant, the examiner grants the patent. In some cases, a hearing may be required. In addition, the examiner can issue further office action after receiving response to FER, which can be responded to by the applicant in a timely manner to proceeds towards grant stage.
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