The Indian Patent Office is responsible for administering the Indian law of patents, and its roles include patent administration, patent duration, and patent renewal, among other things. There are four patent offices in India, located in different cities, i.e., Chennai (in southern India), Delhi (in northern India), Kolkata (in eastern India), and Mumbai (in western India). In geographical terms, these four offices cover the length and breadth of the entire country.
Determining territorial jurisdiction for patent applicants
An application for a patent in India must be filed before the Patent Office having appropriate jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of the relevant office is determined based on one of three criteria, as follows:
- The place of residence, domicile or business of the applicant (or the first mentioned applicant, in case there are joint applicants), or
- The place from where an invention actually originated, or
- For foreign applicants, the address for service in India given by the applicant, or the address of the patent agent on record.
The table below illustrates which specific patent office should be approached by patent applicants.
|Patent Office Branch, Mumbai||The States of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Goa and Chhattisgarh and the Union Territories of Daman and Diu & Dadra and Nagar Haveli|
|Patent Office Branch, Chennai||The States of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and the Union Territories of Pondicherry and Lakshadweep|
|Patent Office Branch, New Delhi||The States of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi and the Union Territory of Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.|
|Patent Office, Kolkata||The rest of India.|
It must be noted that the jurisdiction of the patent office for the purpose of administrative and prosecutorial actions pertaining to a patent is different from the jurisdiction of the courts for the purpose of enforcing a patent (including filing infringement suits). The jurisdiction for filing an infringement suit is determined by the conditions laid down under Section 104 of the Indian Patents Act, 1970, and Section 20 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908.
As per Section 20 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908, the cause of action arises wholly or in part or at the court within the local limits of which the defendant resides, or carries on business, or personally works for gain. Separately, Patent Office decisions may be appealed before the relevant High Court. The jurisdiction of the High Court is determined based on the Patent Office where the patent application is filed.
Selecting the right Patent Office needs to be assessed at the time of filing the application. However, after an application for a patent is filed, it is handed over for examination to one of the four Patent Offices based on a centralized system of allocation. This Patent Office may be different from the one where the application was filed. The applicant has no control over which Patent Office its application will be allotted to for the purpose of examination. However, since practically all hearings before the Controller are virtual nowadays, the examination of an application by a different patent office will not result in increase in prosecution costs.
It is not possible for an applicant to request to transfer the application for examination to another Patent Office once it is allocated. In other words, there is no scope for the applicant to choose a particular Patent Office for examination, or for an application to be transferred to another Patent Office after filing.
If there is a change in the address of the patent applicant, or its agent, to a location that falls under the jurisdiction of a different Patent Office (i.e., not the office where the application was originally filed) during the pendency of the patent application, there is no requirement to change the Patent Office responsible for handling the application.