The Indian Patent Office (IPO) has recently notified that the process of accepting the applications as per the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) Guidelines for the remaining 9 requests slots will commence from 10 August 2020.
In 2019, a Bilateral PPH pilot program was initiated between the IPO and the Patent Office of Japan (JPO) for a period of 3 years, and necessary procedure Guidelines were issued in this regard. In the said program each patent office has limited the number of requests to 100 cases per year.
The PPH pilot program allows applicants to request an expedited examination process by submitting requests along with the relevant documents with the Office of the Later Examination (OLE) based on the application which is determined to be patentable by the Office of Earlier Examination (OEE).
An application under the PHH pilot program is required to be filed under Section 24C(1)(j) of Indian Patent Rules 2003, within 48 months from the date of the earliest priority or from the application filing date, whichever is earlier. Notably, an applicant can file the said expedited examination request only after the request for assigning a 'special status' to the application has been approved by the OLE. Moreover, as per the procedure Guidelines, such requests are only accepted for patent applications in the technical fields of Electrical, Electronics, Computer Science, Information Technology, Physics, Civil, Mechanical, Textiles, Automobiles, and Metallurgy, as defined in the WIPO International Patent Classification.
The PPH program facilitates an accelerated examination process upon the request of the applicant which is expected to provide for a highly predictable and cost-effective framework. Since, the commencement of the PPH pilot program in India, out of the 100 requests received, only 56 requests were accepted by the IPO following the PPH Guidelines. The IPO again started accepting requests from 9 March 2020 for available slots, however, only 35 requests were accepted by the IPO in this regard. Now, the IPO has invited applications for the remaining 9 slots and interested applicants may file a necessary request with the IPO.
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