The Indian Patent Office has been empowered as an International Search Authority and International Preliminary Search Authority as on October 15, 2013.1
An agreement between the Indian Patent Office and the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in relation to the functioning of the Indian Patent Office as an International Searching Authority (ISA) and International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) has come into force (from October 15, 2013) and shall subsist until 2017 unless terminated in accordance with the agreement2 . Upon the advice of PCT committee for Technical Co-operation, in accordance with Article 16(3) (e), the PCT assembly which is the authority to designate any of the national patent offices as an International Searching Authority, has accepted the said request and designated the Indian Patent office as ISA and IPEA under PCT for filing and examining of international patent applications to be received by it.
As per Article 16 (3) (c) of Patent Co-operation Treaty (PCT), any national or Intergovernmental Organization intending to be designated as an ISA or IPEA should satisfy and upon designation, continue to satisfy, the minimum requirement as to man power and documentation which has now been satisfied by the Indian Patent Office with the PCT Assembly of WIPO.
When an International Patent application is made through PCT, international searches are carried out by an International Searching Authority or International Preliminary Examining Authority as the case may be, by either a National Office or an intergovernmental organization designated by the PCT assembly for this purpose. The Search includes the establishing of documentary search reports on prior art with respect to inventions which are the subject of applications and other related functions.
Now, the Indian Patent office has commenced to act as the receiving office of International Patent Applications and will carry out the above functions.
This is a major advancement by the Indian Patent Office and makes it easy, convenient and less cumbersome for any international application from India routed through PCT and would also encourage more number of International Applications from inventors.
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The notification as issued by the Patent Office in this regard can be accessed from IPO’s website at: http://ipindiaservices.gov.in/isaweb/agreement.pdf