The Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2023, initially circulated on August 23, 2023, for discussions and consultations with stakeholders, is now being notified and are officially in effect from March 15, 2024.

The amendments tackle significant issues raised by patent filers in India, particularly regarding annual working statements, patent working details, Form 3 submissions concerning corresponding foreign applications, prosecution document filings, timeline extensions, and condonation of delays.

Key Amendments:

   –  Request for Examination (RFE): The deadline for filing an RFE has been revised from 48 months to 31 months from the earliest priority date, effective for applications submitted on or after March 15, 2024. For earlier filings, the 48-month timeframe remains applicable.

   –  Section 8(1): Form 3 submission for corresponding foreign applications is now required only twice: initially with the Indian application filing or within six months, and then within three months of the First Examination Report (FER) issuance.

   –  Section 8(2): Controllers are mandated to utilize accessible databases for assessing information on corresponding foreign applications. However, applicants may be requested to submit a fresh Form 3 within two months under specific circumstances.

   –  Working Statement: Patentees must file working statements every three financial years, excluding the year of patent grant. Form 27 format has been simplified, eliminating the need for value or sales data for Indian patents.

  –  Renewal Fees Discount: Patentees can receive a 10% discount on annuity fees by opting for electronic payment, provided they commit to paying annuities for a minimum of four years in advance.

   –  Divisional Application: Applicants can now voluntarily file divisional applications based on disclosures in previous applications.

These amendments seek to bolster stakeholders’ confidence in the Indian patent system, fostering increased patent applications from both domestic and international filers. Additionally, they aim to expedite application examination and patent grants, promoting efficiency and transparency within the system.