Expedited examination of applications
(1)An applicant may file a request for expedited examination in Form 18A along with the fee as specified in the first schedule only by electronic transmission duly authenticated within the period prescribed in rule 24B on any of the following grounds, namely:
(a) that India has been indicated as the competent International Searching Authority or elected as an International Preliminary Examining Authority in the corresponding international application; or
(b) that the applicant is a startup; or
(c) that the applicant is a small entity; or
(d) that if the applicant is a natural person or in the case of joint applicants, all the applicants are natural persons, then the applicant or at least one of the applicants is a female; or
(e) that the applicant is a department of the Government; or
(f) that the applicant is an institution established by a Central, Provincial or State Act, which is owned or controlled by the Government; or
(g) that the applicant is a Government company as defined in clause (45) of section 2 of the Companies Act, 2013 (18 of 2013); or
(h) that the applicant is an institution wholly or substantially financed by the Government;
Explanation:- For the purpose of this clause, the term ‘substantially financed’ shall have the same meaning as in the Explanation to sub-section (1) of section 14 of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) Act, 1971(56 of 1971); or
(i) that the application pertains to a sector which is notified by the Central Government on the basis of a request from the head of a department of the Central Government.:
Provided that public comments are invited before any such notification; or
(j) that the applicant is eligible under an arrangement for processing a patent application pursuant to an agreement between Indian Patent Office and a foreign Patent Office.
Explanation:- The patentability of patent applications filed under clause (j) above will be in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Act.
(2) A request for examination filed under rule 24B may be converted to a request for expedited examination under sub-rule (1) of rule 24C by paying the relevant fees and submitting requisite documents as required under sub-rule (1).
(3) Except where the application has already been published under sub-section (2) of Section 11A or a request for publication under rule 24A has already been filed, a request for expedited examination shall be accompanied by a request for publication under rule 24A.
(4) Where the request for expedited examination does not comply with the requirements of this rule, such a request shall be processed in accordance with the provisions contained in rule 24B, with an intimation to the applicant, and shall be deemed to have been filed on the date on which the request for expedited examination was filed.
(5)The Controller shall refer the request for expedited examination along with the application and specification and other documents to the examiner, in respect of the applications where the request for expedited examination has been received, in the order of filing of such requests.
Provided that a request for expedited examination under this rule filed by a startup or small entity shall not be questioned merely on the ground that the startup or small entity, having filed an application for a patent, ceases to be a startup or small entity due to the lapse of the period during which it is recognised by the competent authority, or its turnover subsequently crosses the financial threshold limit as notified by the competent authority.
(6) The period within which the examiner shall make the report under sub-section (2) of section 12, shall ordinarily be one month but not exceeding two months from the date of reference of the application to him by the Controller.
(7) The period within which the Controller shall dispose of the report of the examiner shall be one month from the date of receipt of such report by the Controller.
(8) A first statement of objections along with any document, if required, shall be issued by the Controller to the applicant or his authorised agent within fifteen days from the date of disposal of the report of examiner by the Controller.
(9) Reply to the first statement of objections and subsequent reply, if any, in respect of an application where the request for expedited examination was filed, shall be processed in the order in which such reply for such application is received.
(10) The time for putting an application in order for grant under section 21 shall be six months from the date on which the first statement of objections is issued to the applicant.
(11) The time for putting an application in order for grant under section 21, as prescribed in sub-rule (10) may be further extended for a period of three months on a request for extension made in Form 4 along with the prescribed fee, made to the Controller before the expiry of the period specified under sub-rule (10).
(12) The Controller shall dispose of the application within a period of three months from the date of receipt of the last reply to the first statement of objections or within a period of three months from the last date to put the application in order for grant under section 21 of the Act, whichever is earlier: Provided that this time limit shall not be applicable in case of pre-grant opposition.
(13) Notwithstanding anything contained this rule, the Controller may limit the number of requests for expedited examination to be received during the year by way of a notice to be published in the official journal.