PATENT LAW TREATY: - (PLT)
The PLT was signed by members of the Paris Convention for the protection of Industrial Property. It came into force on April 28th 2005. Membership to PLT is also open to certain inter-governmental / regional organisations.
As on date the following countries have ratified PLT:
ALBANIA, AUSTRALIA, BAHRAIN, BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA, CROATIA, DENMARK, ESTONIA, FINLAND, FRANCE, HUNGRY, IRELAND, KAZAKHSTAN, KYRGYZSTAN, LIECHTENSTEIN, LITHUANIA, MONTENEGRO, NETHERLAND, NIGERIA, OMAN, REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA, ROMANIA, RUSSIAN FEDERATION, SERBIA, SLOVAKIA, SLOVENIA, SWEDEN, SWITZERLAND, THE FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA, UKRAINE, UNITED KINGDOM, UZBEKISTAN
PURPOSE OF THE PLT:
The purpose of the PLT is chiefly harmonisation and streamlining of formal procedures concerning national and regional patent applications and patents, making the procedures user friendly.
PLT has provided for a certain set of requirements that are to be collected by the signatory countries from applicants. These sets of requirements are to be compulsorily enforced by the signatory countries. However, if they so deem, countries are given the freedom to ask for requirements over and above these sets of requirements keeping in mind the interests of the applicants.
Provisions of the PLT:
- Acquiring a filing date by the applicants in order to protect their inventions provided the utmost priority and forms the crux of PLT. The following 3 minimum, yet absolute requirements have to be furnished by the applicants so as to obtain a filing date, failing which the signatory state would not be allowed to issue a filing date:
i. Application furnished by the applicant must indicate that it is indeed an application seeking patent protection for an invention.
ii. Information establishing the identity and contact details of the applicant have to be furnished in the application.
iii. In order for a filing date to be issued, a description of the invention suffices. The signatory country need not insist for either claims or filing fees to be furnished at the time of application.
- Prior to the PLT coming into force, international applications under the PCT faced hurdles while submitting applications to the national, regional and international patent regimes as there were many procedural lacunae amongst these regimes for the lack of standardised Model International Forms. PLT therefore sought to overcome these lacunae and hurdles by setting a set of formal requirements and standardised forms in the interest of applicants.
- Simplification of a number of procedures by the patent offices leading to overall reduction in costs to both the applicants as well as offices.
- Prevention of loss to rights owing to unintentional formalities defects either by the applicants while submitting the application or by the offices while processing the applications.
- IP offices are obligated to inform parties before any procedural steps taken which results in substantive loss to patent rights.
- In the event of non-compliance with formal requirements excepting fraudulent intentions, no revocation or invalidation of a patent either in part or in whole can occur without first issuing notice and providing opportunity to the applicant to prove otherwise.
- Implementation of electronic filing along with paper filing introduced.
- Signatures communicated and provided to the offices are not be disputed, however, evidence establishing the same may be called for in a quasi – judicial proceeding or when authenticity of the signatures suspected.
- Corrections and/or additions to priority claims may be done if requested as per procedures provided in the regulations.
- Paris Convention not to be overridden or derogated at any time and the sanctity of obligations therein to be preserved at all times by the PLT