The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has recently released The Draft Patents (Amendment) Rules 2023 for public comment. Interested parties can submit their feedback.

Key Proposed Amendments:

Frequency of Working Statement Submission:

Current Rule: Annually (every financial year).

Proposed Change: Every three years.

Opposition Filing Fee Structure:

Current Rule: No fee for pre-grant opposition and a standard fee of INR 2400 for post-grant opposition (for specific entities like startups).

Proposed Change: A cumulative fee based on multiple criteria such as the type of application, specification length, number of claims, and the kind of examination requested.

Introduction of Form-31:

Purpose: To claim that a patent application isn’t anticipated by prior public display.

Key Details Required:

Date of the earliest invention display.

Verification if the display was with the true inventor’s consent.

Nature of the exhibition where the invention was displayed.

Timeline Modification for Section 8:

Current Rule: Information regarding corresponding foreign application to be submitted within six months of promising to provide said details.

Proposed Change: Submit within two months from receiving the first statement of objection.

Clarity on Divisional Application:

New Proposal: Permission to file a divisional application, even for inventions disclosed in provisional specifications.

Examination Request Timeline:

Current Rule: Within 48 months from the application’s priority date.

Proposed Change: Shortened to 31 months from the priority date.

Incentive for Renewal Fee Payment:

New Proposal: A 10% discount if renewal fees are paid online and in advance for at least four years.

The proposed amendments seem to streamline the patent filing process, potentially making it more efficient. The introduction of Form-31 could provide clarity to applicants and avoid potential legal disputes related to prior public displays. Additionally, the change in fee structure and timeline modifications might influence the strategies of patent applicants and holders.