New Delhi, Jul 17 (UNI) An industry chamber today said government has streamlined procedure in patent offices across the country by bringing uniformity and consistency in the process of pre-grant opposition to a patent.
Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) said Controller General of Patents has directed all patent offices to furnish a copy of applicant's reply to opponent if the latter requests for it and has paid the prescribed fee.
Pre-grant opposition is the first opportunity available to opponents to challange grant of patents for frivolous or non-patentable inventions.
Earlier, some patent offices furnished such copies while others did not and sometime the same office adopted different procedures, leading to litigation. In the case of pharama major Boeheinger Ingelheim's invention of an anti-HIV drug, Delhi patent office had provided applicant's response to opponent but when Gilead sciences filed a patent application for an intermediate for anti-viral compounds, the same office refused to supply the applicant's response to patent's opponent.
FICCI has been pleading for providing applicant's reply to opponent, arguing it enables opponent to prepare its case better, thus ensuring that only legitimate patents are granted. This, the industry chamber said, will help bring down litigation.
When FICCI took up the issue, government set up a joint consultative working group of representatives of the chamber and department of industrial policy and promotion. Their joint proposal led to issue of necessary adminstrative instructions to patent offices, the industry chamber said.
FICCI and DIPP are working closely in bringing more consistency in the procedures relating to prosecution of patent applications as the government is keen to address concerns of industry.
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