To implement Patent Prosecution Highway, the Indian patent office has brought amendment in the Patent Rules 2003 notified in September 2019. The objective is to expedite the disposal of patent applications introducing a new category of applicants who could avail the benefits of expedited examination. A joint statement of intent (JSOI) to this effect was signed between the two sides in New Delhi. As per the PPH, Japanese inventors seeking patent protection in India will be able to take the benefits of expedited examination in India under the pilot programme on PPH. The new rules allowed the IPO to enter into agreements with the other patent offices to “officially” let the examiners of one patent office to reuse search and examination results already conducted by another patent office. Applicants can request expedited examination by a prescribed procedure including submission of relevant documents on an application which is filed with the Office of Later Examination (OLE) and satisfies the requirements described in guidelines under the PPH pilot program between IPO and JPO based on the application which is determined to be patentable by the office of Earlier Examination(OEE)
However "Faster grant of patents in India will result in more inbound investments by companies and also introduction of newer technologies thereby giving fillip to Indian Government's flagship programme 'Make in India', and increasing employment opportunities. It will also help Indian startups in patenting in Japan," said an official statement issued by the ministry.
The programme will initially commence between the Japan Patent Office (JPO) and the Indian Patent Office (IPO) on pilot basis for a period of three years. The offices will start accepting PPH requests on December 5, 2019. The number of the requests for the PPH in each Office will be respectively limited to 100 cases per year. The IPO shall limit the number of requests for the PPH made by same applicant per year from time to time. The pilot program may be reviewed every year. There shall not be any additional fee for filing PPH request in JPO.
Under this pilot programme, the IPO may receive patent applications in certain specified technical fields only, like electrical, electronics, computer science, information technology, physics, civil, mechanical, textiles, automobiles and metallurgy. And, the JPO may receive applications in all fields of technology. The PPH will lead to benefits like reduction in disposal time and pendency of patent applications, consistency in quality of granted patents and an opportunity for Indian inventors, including Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and start-ups of India to get accelerated examination of their patent applications in Japan.
India is well positioned to have a PCT centric bilateral and global work-sharing agreements which would enable patent applicants to request accelerated processing in the national phase, where patent examiners can make use of the work products (the Written Opinion of the International Searching Authority, the Written Opinion of the International Preliminary Examining Authority, or the International Preliminary Examination Report issued within the framework of the PCT, subject to certain conditions) from the other Office(s).