The Indian Patent Office has introduced E-filing of patent services way back in 2007 in order to ease the process of filing. Manual filing required submission of hard copies of all the required documents to the appropriate authority. This usually proved to be a long complicated process that was very time-consuming. With the introduction of e-filing, the process became more user-friendly and relatively faster. Though first introduced in the year 2007 e-filing has been made compulsory as per the Patent (Amendment) Rules 2016. Therefore, the Indian Patent office has not been accepting manual filing for patents with effect from 16th May 2016 .
E-filing of patent application: Process
E-filing of patent services was first introduced in India in the year 2007. This was revamped as the Comprehensive Online Patent Filing Services in the year 2012. All filings are in accordance with Schedule 1 of the Patents Rules, 2003.
1) The first step, like in trademark filing is to register at Online Filing of Patents platform. After registering, the user ID and password are generated.
2) The Comprehensive Online Patent Filing Services has a dual login facility. This means that an Applicant or Agent can login either using the User ID and password or the digital signature.
3) After logging in the website has a list of comprehensive steps that allow the Applicant to download client software on which he can create and sign the patent application.
4) After uploading the digitally signed patent application the (auto-calculated) payment must be made.
5) The status of the application can be checked.
6) The acknowledgement will generate after receipt of the payment.
This, put in a nutshell, is the process for e-filing of patent applications.
Benefits of e-filing:
i. The foremost advantage of e-filing of patent applications is its flexibility. In the sense that a patent application can be filed at any time and at any place.
ii. Increase in speed in another benefit. The electronic medium ensures that the application is filed immediately. There can be no delays as is usual in the case of manual filing. This also ensures that an acknowledgment is generated immediately.
iii. Even at the patent office the accuracy increases, given the fact that there is no scope for manual entry of any of the details. This reduction in the margin of error ensures a more efficient review.
iv. While drafting patent applications the primary concern for most applicants is adherence to the format. E-filing makes this process easy owing to the availability software that can cross-check the format of the application in order to ensure that they comply with the required format. PCT-SAFE is one such software that can be used for filing PCT applications. Moreover, e-filing allows for validation with the IPO database.
v. The introduction of the Comprehensive Online Patent Filing Services has ensured that there are minimum transaction errors.
vi. After registration, each Applicant or Agent will have a unique user profile where he can add and update his digital signature.
Making e-filing of patents compulsory is a welcome move as the transactions will be faster with lesser chances of errors. If you find it difficult to file your patent electronically, you can always engage professional help to guide you through the process and filing.