Patent Opposition Systems in India and Other Countries
Patent laws in many countries, provide a procedure, whereby a person (or entity) may express his/her standing against the grant of a patent or against a granted patent, by filing an opposition with the patent office of the respective country. Opposition for grant of a patent is of two types: pre-grant opposition and postgrant opposition. An opposition filed before the grant of a patent is called a pregrant opposition and an opposition filed after the grant of a patent is called a postgrant opposition. Some countries allow both types of oppositions while some countries allow only one of the two types, based on their respective patent laws.Further, there are various grounds specified by the patent laws of different countries on the basis of which an opposition can be filed. Some of the commonly cited grounds are non-compliance with the patentability criteria and insufficient disclosure of the invention in the specifications. Sometimes a relevant prior art which was not discovered during the examination stage of a patent application, but was known by a third party may also form the basis of an opposition. The advantage of having a pre-grant opposition system is that it precludes bad or frivolous patents from getting granted. However, a common drawback of a pregrant opposition system is that it may cause a delay in grant of a patent. Similarly, the major short coming of a post-grant opposition system is that it leads to a wrongful monopoly of a patent holder until the time an opposition is filed for the patent. This document discusses about the opposition procedures as provided in India, Europe and USA based on their respective patent laws.