A WIPO- India Cooperation agreement was established between the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and India Patent Office (IPO) on Jan 31, 2018. IPO has started the WIPO- Digital Access Service (DAS) for priority documents submitted by the applicants from the participating offices.
The WIPO-Digital Access Service is an electronic system allowing priority documents and similar documents to be securely exchanged between participating intellectual property offices of various countries. The system enables applicants and offices to meet the requirements of the Paris Convention for certification in an electronic environment. Currently, the WIPO-DAS service is operational for only patent documents.
It is a matter of immense pride that IPO now joined the league of USPTO (the United States Patent and Trademark Office), UKIPO (the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office), JPO (the Japan Patent Office), SIPO (State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China) and INPI (the National Institute of Industrial Property of Brazil). Like these, the IPO also became both; a participating office and an accessing office of the DAS. As a participating office, the IPO can now allow electronic versions of the applications to be made available to the DAS and as an accessing Office, the IPO can help in the retrieval of priority documents of the applicants.
As per the IPO, this WIPO- India Cooperation agreement covers cooperative activities for the improvement of IP business services, including projects for digitalization, data capture, data quality improvement, data exchange for dissemination of IP information, document management, online search and any related systems or modules and creation of national and/or regional IP databases. This is likely to benefit not only the Applicants filing PCT Applications claiming priority from Indian Patent applications, but also the Examiners at the IPO and WIPO handling such applications. Further, the Agreement also facilitates India to become a depositing office for WIPO CASE, thus enabling WIPO to make available the search and examination reports of Indian patent applications.
It is a very helpful tool since it facilitates easy, secure, quick and inexpensive procedure for submission of certified copies of priority documents. The Indian Patent Office is their depositing office which uploads certified copies of patent and Industrial design applications as priority documents. These documents also include International Patent Applications under PCT filed at the office (RO/IN) on and after Jan 31, 2018. Traditionally the applicant had to use a paper trail to make corresponding applications in various patent offices across the world.
The applicants have to specifically request the patent office to make such priority documents available to the WIPO-DAS. It is interesting to note here that, if the proposed patent amendment rules are implemented, it is recommended that no fee should be taken from the Indian Applicants for the preparation of a certified copy of a priority document and e-transmission through WIPO-DAS. This could provide a huge relief for Indian applicants considering the fact that the current IPO charges are INR 16000 as transmittal fee and INR 5000 (up to 30 pages and thereafter 150 for each extra page) for the preparation and transmittal of priority documents to WIPO.
Prominent features of the WIPO-DAS service are:
1. Applicants can simply request the office of first filing to deposit/add the priority documents into the WIPO-DAS system, and request offices of second filings to use the service for obtaining access of such documents.
2. Use of an access code provided by WIPO-DAS to authorize access.
3. Exchange of documents happens via secure channels.
4. There is no need to provide a certified copy of a priority document separately to each office of second filing.
5. No need to pay for multiple copies of paper priority documents.
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