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10 May 2016

Auto-allotment of patent applications will speed up examination process

By: Nagaraj Mannikkeri
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The Indian Patent Office (IPO) has recently implemented a new “auto-allotment” system with the objective of rationalizing workload of Indian Patent examiners and thus speeding up prosecution of patent applications. The new system has been operational from 1st April 2016, and the notification can be viewed here.

 Under the new “auto-allotment” system, a patent application filed with any of the Indian Patent Offices, is automatically allotted to an Examiner (from the relevant domain) on a first come first served basis based on his/her workload, irrespective of which branch s/he operates from. For example, if a patent application is filed in Indian Patent Office, Chennai, and the Patent Examiners in the Chennai branch are already backlogged, the “auto-allotment” system itself identifies an Examiner with less load at another branch (for example, Kolkata) and allots the case to him/her.

The IPO’s notification for this system also states that first statement of objection or first examination report (FER) shall henceforth be issued by respective Controllers electronically and shall be sent to the respective agents/ applicant through e-mails only, thereby significantly reducing the time required to send hard copies by post. The FERs would also be made available for downloading /viewing by logging into InPASS, the online database of the IPO.  

Under the new process, a response to the FER shall be filed with the IPO via hardcopy or through a comprehensive e-filing system. It is recommended that the responses also be e-filed to reduce the risk of loss of hard copies or delay during transit.

With the launch of new auto-allotment system it is expected that the backlog in Indian Patent office would reduce to a certain extent thereby expediting the prosecution of Patent Applications. This is another step in the government’s efforts to streamline India’s IPR policies and procedures. The new system appears to have received overwhelming response in the six weeks for which it has been operational.

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