On 21 November 2019, the Press Information Bureau Government of India issued a press release stating that the Union Cabinet of India had on 20 November 2019 approved a proposal for Bilateral Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) Programme between Indian Patent Office under Controller General of Patents, Design and Trade Marks (CGPDTM), Government of India with Patent Offices of other interested countries/regions.
It is pertinent to note that this is the first time that the Indian Patent Office (IPO) has entered into a pilot programme on PPH with Japan Patent Office (JPO). The heads of the respective Patent offices of India and Japan have formally signed the Joint Statement of Intent (JSOI) for a bilateral PPH Programme on pilot basis in New Delhi on 21 November 2019.
The initial period of this programme, on pilot basis, is three years. Per the initial press release, it appears that under this pilot programme, Indian Patent Office may receive patent applications in certain specified technical fields only (like electrical, electronics, computer science, information technology, physics, civil, mechanical, textiles, automobiles and metallurgy), while, Japan Patent Office may receive applications in all fields of technology. Further, it is interesting to note that as per initial press release, patent applications from the field of pharmaceuticals and biotechnology have been left out of PPH programme in India.
It is anticipated that the PPH programme, will lead to benefits like:
- reduction in disposal time and pendency of patent applications;
- consistency in quality of granted patents;
- an opportunity for Indian inventors including MSMEs and Start-ups of India to get accelerated examination of their patent applications in Japan; and
- Japanese inventors seeking patent protection in India will now be able to take the benefits of expedited examination in India under the pilot programme on PPH.
At present notification issuing guidelines for prosecution of applications opting for PPH programme is awaited from IPO. However, in view of recent amendment of Patent Rules notified on 17 September 2019, it is possible that patentability of patent applications filed under PPH may be in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Act.
Contributors to present post are Abhilasha & Ankush.
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