A patent examination is a process in which the examiner examines the patent application of the applicant. This is a crucial step for getting a grant for the patent. The applicant has to apply for the examination of the patent within 48 months from the priority date or from the date of filing of the application, whichever is earlier.
The process of patent examination is not an automatic process like the publication of the patent application. As per the Indian Patent Act, the applicant has to file a request to get his patent application examined.
In case the applicant fails to apply the request for the examination of the patent application within the prescribed period then that application will be considered abandoned.
Ordinarily, after filing the request for the examination by the applicant, the Controller of the Patent is required to refer the application to the examiner within the period of 1 month from the date of filing of the request. Thereafter, the examiner is required to examine the application and is also required to prepare a report within the period of 1-3 months.
The examiner of patents is required to prepare an examination report based on various patentability criteria such as:
- Industrial application
- Inventive step
- Patentable subject matter
- Specification enablement
The request for examination of the patent application can be filed by either the applicant himself or by any other interested party. The request has to be filed by filing Form-18 which has to specify the details of the patent application.
Once the examination of the patent application is completed then the Controller of the patent issues a first examination report (FER) to the applicant which contains the prior arts which are similar to the claimed invention.
Thereafter, the applicant is required to file the reply to the first examination report within the period of 6 months from the date of issuance of the first examination report. If the applicant fails to submit the reply to the first examination report, then the application for the patent will be considered abandoned.