India becomes part of WIPO’s Digital Access Service

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WIPO’s Digital Access Service (DAS) is an electronic system that allows easy transfer of certified copies of documents, which are typically required during filing patent applications in multiple countries. WIPO’s DAS allows applicant(s) to request a first patent office/office of first filing to make the certified copies available to other patent office’s/accessing offices where applicant(s) wishes to file the patent application. This certified copies exchange happens electronically between the patent offices. At present, there are nearly 20 patent offices that are using the WIPO DAS.

Considering recent events, a WIPO-India cooperation agreement was established between WIPO and IPO on 31 March 2018, stating that the IPO will now start using the WIPO’s DAS. IPO is now a depositing office, where the certified copies of documents are uploaded using the WIPO DAS.

The applicant(s) must make a request to the patent pffice stating that they require certified copies of documents to be submitted to the WIPO DAS. The request is made along with an applicable fee as per entry no. 49 in the First Schedule of the Patents Rules 2003. In case of Design Patents, the applicant(s) should submit Form 16 along with the applicable fee as per The First Schedule of The Designs Rules, 2001. Once the request is submitted to the depositing office, DAS sends an access code for authorization through email to the applicant(s). A separate access code is received for each certified document that the applicant(s) has requested from the depositing office. The applicant then sends a letter mentioning the patent application number along with the access code received through email from DAS to the receiving patent office(s). The certified copies are then successfully provided to the receiving patent office(s).

WIPO DAS is easy and quick as the system provides a mechanism for the office of first filing to add the certified copies of documents, and the accessing offices to receive the documents. The process is paperless, as the exchange between the patent offices happens electronically. DAS is secure as it’s hosted and administered by WIPO authorities. DAS is also reasonable in terms of cost as the applicant(s) need not pay for multiple sheets/copies of paper certified copies of documents. Also, WIPO does not charge the applicant(s) for using the system. Since all the exchange is done online, applicant(s) also save money on courier/postal charges. According to recent statistics, IPO ranks among top 20 countries for yearly numbers of PCT application filings. Hence, based on the above-mentioned details and statistics, IPO has definitely taken a wise decision in opting for WIPO DAS.

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