The Officer of the Controller of Patents has resolved to clear the long pendency of patent applications that are piled up for examinations and at the same time endeavours to balance the workload at each branches of the Patent Offices . In some art units at the Delhi Patent Office, the applications in which request for examination were filed in 2008 are yet to be examined. To expedite the examination and to explore the possibility of utilizing the expertise of the officers available in other branches of Patent office, the Office of the Controller of Patents has decided to transfer the pending applications within the branches depending upon the work load of the officers.
This procedure need to be tested for its workability and also to identify issues and inconveniences. Therefore the Office has decided to run a Pilot Project before launching a system of auto-allocation based on work-load of each branch. This project is supported by the recent amendment brought by way of Patent (Amendment) Rules, 2013 whereby sub-rule (3) to Rule 4 was inserted in the Patent Rules, 2003 which empowers the Controller of Patents to transfer a patent application to the head officer or any branch offices.
Under the Pilot Project, 100 identified applications from Electrical/Electronics Group of the Delhi Patent Officer are decided to be transferred to the other branch offices for examination. This procedure would not involve transfer of physical files and only the electronic records of the relevant files would be referred and marked to the Examiners/Controllers in other branches.
The Examiners would follow the procedure of submitting their Report to the Controller and the Controller would issue the First Examination Report to the applicant/agent with a copy to the Delhi Patent Office. And response to the First Examination Report would require to be submitted with the Delhi Patent Office. The Patent Office is also seeking a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the applicants/agents for attending the hearing in person, if required at the branch offices. In cases where no personal hearing is required or no such NOC is submitted by the applicant/agents, the Patent Office may schedule for holding a video conference for the agents with the Controllers in respective Branch Offices. If during the during the course of hearing, the applicant relies on any document the same may be handed over to the Controller at the branch office but a copy thereof is mandatorily required to be submitted at the Delhi Patent Office. Same is the case of written submission that need to be filed within 15 days of hearing with the Delhi Patent Office. All pre-grant proceedings are also required to be filed with the Delhi Patent Office.
While this is a welcome initiative, we need to watch for the gaps and glitches that this system may offer. However, with the new and improved IT infrastructure, we wish all success to this Project and consequent deployment of a system for optimum utilization of resources.