When can it be said that a patent has been granted? To date, a patent has been held as granted on the grant date indicated on the letters patent document.
This is despite the application being in order and pre-grant oppositions, if any, being disposed of in favour of the applicant much earlier—in some cases, months and years before. Amendments to the law in 2005 allowed pre-grant oppositions to be filed at any time between the publication of an application and grant of patent.
Consequently, until now, applications continually faced the threat of fresh oppositions in the transitional phase between the date of being placed in order for grant and the actual date of grant reflected on the letters patent document.
Recently, in Dr Snehlata C Gupte v Union of India & Others, this interpretation was challenged successfully before the High Court of Delhi. It was argued that under the statute, a patent dates back to the day on which the patent application is filed. Its examination procedure is rigorous and, by nature, time-consuming. In addition, it may be challenged, or its grant stayed.
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