Ministry makes big changes to patent regulations

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Amendments to Patents Rules 2003
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The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has announced significant amendments to the Patents Rules, 2003, with the introduction of the Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2024.

According to the ministry, these amendments aim to streamline and modernise the patent application and examination process, as well as enhance flexibility and efficiency in patent management.

Key changes include a reduced timeline for filing examination requests, provisions for filing divisional applications, and relaxed requirements for patent working statements. Additionally, amendments related to foreign applications, grace periods, extension requests, opposition procedures, inventorship certificates and annuity fee payments mark a significant overhaul of India’s patent regulatory framework.

The timeline for filing a request for examination has been shortened from 48 months to 31 months from the earliest priority date, effective for applications submitted on or after 15 March 2024.

Patent applicants now have the option to file divisional applications voluntarily, allowing for greater flexibility in the patent application process.

The requirement to request an extension for responding to the first examination report (FER) within six months has been relaxed. The frequency of filing working statements for granted patents has been reduced from annually to once every three years.

Amendments also eliminate the requirement to disclose revenue generated from patented inventions and introduce a provision to indicate whether patents are available for licensing.

The obligation to submit periodic information about corresponding foreign applications has been simplified, with patent applicants now required to file form 3 only twice – initially at the filing stage and subsequently within three months of FER issuance.

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