A patent is a valuable tool that justifies the value of an invention to the inventor when sold in the open market. A patent can be registered for any good, service or idea uniquely formed by any person or entity. To receive patent protection for any new invention, one has to get it registered or in other words, get it licensed through the patent registering authority. In India, the authority governing patent rights is Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trade Marks (“CGPDTM”).
To apply for a patent in India, one has to make sure that the invention which is to be patented is unique and no other person holds any right to challenge the claim of the inventor. While there is no single tool to check for existing patents or for approval of patent in other countries, the only possible way for the authorities to help patent applicants is by reducing their effort and time involved in patent applications with certain advancements in these initiatives.
PPH (Patent Prosecution Highway) is one such initiative which the Indian government took with the Japan Patent Office’s (JPOs).
Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH)
Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) is a bilateral pilot program initiated between Indian Patent Offices (“IPOs”) and Japan Patent Offices (“JPOs”) for determining guidelines to be followed by patent applicants for requesting expedited processing of their patent applications.
Applicants of patents with Patent Prosecution Highway will be able to speed up their patent applications by sufficing some additional documents and by following some prescribed procedures with the Office of Later Examination (OLE) and the Office of Earlier Examination (“OEE”) will then confirm for the patentability of the application.
The PPH Pilot program commenced on 21st November 2019 and will continue to be in force for 3 years.
For submitting a request for patents under the Patent Prosecution Highway program, the following rules have to be kept in mind:
- The maximum number of patent requests in a year to be dealt with by the Indian Patent Office would not be more than 100.
- For failed patent requests, the applicant either alone or jointly with any other person shall only be allowed to put it again though Patent Prosecution Highway only for a maximum of 10 times.
- Once the request is accepted by the Office of later examination (“OLE”), the application is assigned a special status, to proceed for expedited examination under Patent Prosecution Highway.
- For acceptance, rejection or corrections required in the application, the applicant will be notified through email or message on the e-filling portal of patents.
Applications in the Patent Prosecution Highway program can only be related to electronics, technology, computer science, automobiles, physics, textiles, civil, mechanical or metallurgy if submitted to Indian patent offices, while the JPO can receive applications for any field of technology.
Filing Patent Request in Patent Prosecution Highway
- All applications under the Patent Prosecution Highway program shall have to be filed within the provisions of the Patent Rules 2003.
- After submission of all documents prescribed by Indian Patent Offices or Japan Patent Offices, the OLE (Office of Later Examination) will decide whether the application is to be taken further for expedited process or not.
- For expedited processing of patent by Indian Patent Offices, Form 5-1 as prescribed in the Patent Prosecution Highway rules has to be filed.
- Documents to be submitted by the applicant in the Patent Offices:
- A copy of OEE work products and A translation of documents in 1 in a language accepted by the Office
- A self-certification of the translations
- A copy of all claims determined to be patentable/allowable by OEE is attached and A translation of documents in a language accepted by the Office is attached
- A copy of all documents cited in OEE work products is attached (excluding patent)
- Self Declaration in the prescribed format.
- Details of correspondence address.
Benefits of Patent Prosecution Highway
While the PPH program aims to build a common bilateral patent prosecution highway, it also ensures to:
- Reduce the lead time of disposal of patent applications.
- Control the pendency of applications.
- Bring improvements in the overall patent examination process.
- Build a stable platform for Indian inventors especially for MSMEs and start-ups to accelerate their patent applications in Japan.
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