What are the various stages involved in the grant of an Indian patent?
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- This stage includes filing the application at the Indian Patent Office and complying with all the formal requirements.
- Filing a Request for Examination:
- A request for examination is required to be filed by the applicant so that the application is taken up for examination. The request may be filed at the time of filing of the application or subsequently within 48 months from the earliest priority date. If the request for examination is not filed within said time limit, the application is irrevocably terminated.
- After the application has been filed, the application is published by the Indian Patent Office for public inspection in an official journal.
- Upon the publication of the application, the applicant has like privileges and rights as if the invention has been granted a patent on the date of the publication. Damages can be claimed from the date of publication of application in India. However, the applicant can file an infringement suit only after the grant of the patent.
- Any person can file a pre-grant opposition at the Indian Patent Office in order to challenge the grant of the application, any time after the publication of the application but before the grant of the patent.
- An application is taken up for examination, only after it has been published and a request for examination has been filed.
- Additionally, in case of a national phase application the application will be taken up for examination only after the expiry of 31 months’ period from the priority date.
- Once examination begins, the Controller issues a First Examination Report (FER), a response to which is required to be submitted within 6 months from the date of issuance of FER. An extension of 3 months is available to submit the response. Failure to submit the response within said time limit shall result in abandonment of the application.
- The Indian Patent Office typically offers a hearing to the applicant after the response to the FER has been filed, to address any pending objections. It is therefore advisable to file the response to the FER at the earliest so as to leave sufficient time for such a hearing.
- Once all objections have been addressed, the application is placed in order for grant.
- If all objections have been addressed, the application proceeds to grant within a couple of months of the hearing mentioned above.
- After the patent has been granted, the patentee is required to pay a renewal fee every year to keep the patent in force. This renewal fee is applicable from the third year onwards. However, the renewal fee is payable only after the grant of the patent.
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