A conducive intellectual property (IP) environment and facilitation of innovation ecosystem have furthered India’s ranking in international indices. Similarly, in the domestic scenario, increased awareness, expanding business incentives and administrative reforms have shown marked progress in the Indian IP regime. The Annual Report 2017-2018 which was recently released by the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (CGPDTM)i establishes, through statistics, the improvement that the office has seen in the past year. Through this post, we look at the headway the office has made in its patent activity in the reported year.
The report highlights the concrete steps taken by the incumbent government to establish a favourable environment for creating and protecting intellectual property rights and strengthening IP administration in the country. The National IPR Policy was launched in May 2016 to enable a strong IP regime and to encourage innovations to achieve the Country’s industrial and economic development goals. The government and the Indian Patent Office (IPO) seem to have taken all necessary steps in implementing the objectives of the policy including intensifying IPR administration and management to ensure ease of access to all stakeholders. Further, IPO has made remarkable achievements in terms of performance, delivery of IP services and IT-enabled functioning.
The number of applications for patents filed in 2017-18 was 47,854 showing an increase of 5.3 % in the overall filing, which was 45,444 in 2016-17. The total number of applications examined was 60,330, which is double the applications examined in the previous year. There was an increase of 108.2% from the previous year, which is a tremendous achievement. Further, the numbers of application granted were 13,045, showing an increase of 32.5% compared to the previous year. Similarly, the total number of applications disposed of was 47695, which shows an increase of 57.6%, as compared to 2016-17. The domestic filing of patent applications also increased to 32.5% as compared to 29.2% in 2016-17. This shows a constantly increasing trend in the domestic filing.
Applications filed and the grants received by Indian Applicants:
During the year 2017-2018, a total of 47,854 applications were filed, out of which 15,550 applications were filed by Indian applicants, which shows about 18% increase over the previous year, which was 13,219 application in 2016-2017.
According to the report the state-wise filing trends are as follows: The state of Maharashtra tops the list with 3744 applications, the state of Tamil Nadu holds the second place with 2737 applications and the state of Karnataka holds the third place with 1971 applications followed by Delhi and Telangana with 1419 and 974 applications respectively.
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) topped the list, in the category of scientific research and development organizations, with 176 applications. Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) was at the second place with 126 application followed by G.H. R labs and research center with 57 applications. Institutes and Universities seem to be doing really well in research and development with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) collectively leading with 540 applications. Amity university with 119 application was at the second position followed by Saveetha Dental College and Hospitals, Saveetha University with 118 application at the third position. In the field of Information technology, WIPRO Limited with 125 applications occupied the top place in the reporting year, while Tata Consultancy Services Limited was in the second place with 90 applications followed by Hike limited with 66 applications.
The total number of applications granted during 2017-2018 was 13,045, out of which 1937 applications were granted to Indian applicants.
Applications filed and the grants received by Foreign Applicants:
During the reporting year, foreign applicants filed 32,304 applications, which shows a negligible increase compared to the number of applications filed during 2016-17, which was 32,225. The United States has topped the list with 8619 applications, followed by Japan with 3537 applications and Germany with 2166 applications through the national phase applications process. Further, it is observed from the report, Qualcomm Inc. retained the top position in the list with 960 patent applications, Koninklijke Philips N. V with 520 applications settles in the second and Philips Lighting Holding B. V with 217 applications was in the third place.
The total number of applications granted during 2017-2018 was 13,045, out of which 11,108 applications were granted to the foreign applicants.
Miscellaneous proceedings under the patents act and rules:
- 205 applications were referred to the Department of atomic energy. One application was found to be related to atomic energy and six applications were allowed to proceed under the normal course official action and 198 applications remained pending.
- 173 patent applications were referred to DRDO to determine their relevance for Defence purposes. Two applications were found relevant, whereas 65 were cleared to proceed in the normal course of action. 106 applications remained pending.
- 46,899 applications were published, out of which 3,497 application were received for early publication.
- 260 pre-grant oppositions were received out of which 108 were disposed of.
- 18 post-grant oppositions were filed, eight were disposed of and 170 cases remained pending.
- The patent office received 4,640 requests seeking permission for filing applications outside India, out of which 4,535 were granted.
- 106 applications for restoration of patents were received, 80 were restored.
- The Patent Office received 1,179 cases for registration of documents for assignment, mortgage, license, etc. out of which 987 applications were disposed of.
- 46,618 statements on the working of patents were received, 12,246 patents were reported as working.
- There was no application for compulsory licensing.
- 100 requests were received for the supply of information relating to patents.
- The Patent Office received 13 requests for duplicate patent certificates and all of them were disposed of during the year.
- 404 new patent agents were registered. The total number of registered patent agents as on 31st March 2018 was 2,826.
Revenue & Expenditure:
The total revenue generated by the patent office was Rs. 477.06 crore which is 16.35% higher compared to the revenue of Rs. 410.03 crore generated in the preceding year.
The statistics clearly demonstrate the progression made by the IPO as compared to previous years. Further, the increase in domestic applications evinces the increased IP awareness among the people of the country, which would enable us to move forward in the field of research, innovation, and development. Furthermore, the remarkable increase in the number of applications examined illustrates the commitment of the department and the enabling infrastructural development. However, the IPO needs to focus more on maintaining quality, timely delivery of examination reports and disposal of the applications to make the system faster and efficient and to set a benchmark in the IP regime in the global platform.
Moreover, although India recently climbed 8 places in the IP Index rankings from 44th to 36th which was a result of specific reforms that better align India’s IP environment with the international IP system, including a dedicated set of IP incentives for small business, and administrative reforms to address the patent backlog. However, challenges such as barriers to licensing and technology transfer, including strict registration norms, limited framework for the protection of biopharmaceutical IP rights, patentability rules outside international standards, lengthy pre-grant opposition proceedings and previously used compulsory licensing for commercial and non-emergency situations remain as key hurdles.
Image Credits: bernd klutsch on Unsplash
although India recently climbed 8 places in the IP Index rankings from 44th to 36th which was a result of specific reforms that better align India’s IP environment with the international IP system, including a dedicated set of IP incentives for small business, and administrative reforms to address the patent backlog. However, challenges such as barriers to licensing and technology transfer, including strict registration norms, limited framework for the protection of biopharmaceutical IP rights, patentability rules outside international standards, lengthy pre-grant opposition proceedings and previously used compulsory licensing for commercial and non-emergency situations remain as key hurdles