For there to be an effective examination of patent applications, there is a duty of disclosure in various jurisdictions. This disclosure requirement makes the assessment of patentability easier and also acts as a good tool to understand honest conduct of an applicant during the prosecution stage.
The US patent laws require the applicant to furnish known prior art documents during the pendency of a patent application by submitting the information disclosure statement (IDS). However, the European patent Office (EPO) obligates an applicant to disclose the results of official searches and examination reports carried out on priority applications.
Under Indian patent law as well, the duty of disclosure lies with the applicant, under section 8, to furnish detailed particulars with respect to applications relating to the same or substantially the same inventions filed outside India.
Duty to disclose is also a statutory mandate in India, as an applicant undertakes to keep the Indian Patent Office (IPO) informed of the details of all corresponding foreign applications from time to time, until the grant of the patent.
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Swati Gupta is an associate at LexOrbis.
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