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The Patent (Amendment) Rules, 2013 came in force with effective from 15th October 2013. It appears that the primary aim of the amendment is associated with various procedures as Indian Patent Office starts functioning as International Searching Authority (ISA) and International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) under the PCT.
Under the amended rules the sequence listing of nucleotides or amino acid sequences are to be filed in computer readable text format along with the application and no printed form of sequence listing of nucleotides or amino acid sequences is required. Further the rules define formatting requirements of the documents including line spacing, indices, page margins etc.
The Patent Office, Delhi will perform the function of International Search Authority (ISA) and International Preliminary Examination Authority (IPEA) and prepare an International Search Report (ISR) and International Preliminary Examination Report (IPER) respectively. It will be the appropriate office for dealing with the International Bureau of World Intellectual Property Organisation and any other International Search Authority and International Preliminary Examination Authority. The searching authority has to prepare the search report and the written opinion within a period of three months from the date of receipt of the search copy or within a period of nine months from the date of priority, whichever expires later. The searching authority will transmit one copy of ISR and written opinion to the International Bureau and one to the applicant.
The period for establishing IPER by the examining authority is twenty eight months from the priority date or six months from the start of International Preliminary Examination or six months from the date of receipt the translation by the examination authority, whichever expires last. The examining authority will transmit one copy of IPER to the International Bureau and one to the applicant. The search authority and the examination authority have to keep all the matter confidential as per the regulations under the Patent Cooperation Treaty.
Every fee which is to be paid in relation to the ISA and IPEA under the Act has been inserted in the Fifth Schedule.
It is to be seen now how the Indian Patent Office fares in its role as ISA and IPEA. Keeping in view that the patent office also has to examine the already existing applications, it looks like either some of the cases be transferred to other patent offices or new recruitment drive for the examiners be initiated to cover the backlog of Indian applications as well as to perform its functions as ISA and IPEA, second option should be preferred.
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