The pro-active approach of the Indian Patent Office has been commendable as per the Annual Report 2015-16. Indian Patent Office strengthened the culture of transparency, accountability and efficiency in its management which is evident from the increased Patent Applications filling by about 10 per cent to 48,904 in 2015-16 as against 43,000 in the previous fiscal year. As per the report, filing of patents, design and trademark applications recorded a double-digit growth in percentage terms in 2015-16. These figures reflect a new found interest in the general public towards protection of their IP and direct us towards a future of innovation, development of knowledge-based industries and favorable environment for technology transfer.
Increased Patent Applications
In what can be seen as a positive development, the year 2015-16 has witnessed a surge in IPR filings with In what can be seen as a positive development, the year 2015-16 has witnessed a 30% surge in IPR filings, according to the Annual Report 2015-2016 of Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs, Trademarks and Geographical Indications.
From around 2,62,000 applications filed in 2014-15, the following year has seen over 3,40,000 applications. Samsung R&D Institute leading the way with highest number of patents in the field of IT followed by TCS, Wipro, IIT and HCL Technologies. Foreign patent applications saw a boom, at 33,838, with an increase of over 10% as compared 30, 692, filed during the previous year. Further, among foreign applicants, US-based chip maker Qualcomm has filed the maximum number of 1,884 patent applications, followed by Koninklijke Philips (949), Samsung Electronics (905), Huawei Technologies (648) and General Electric Company (446).
Indian Patent Office Website: User Friendly
The credit for increase in patent application both by Indian and Foreign Applicants, can be credited to the technological up-gradation of the patent office with respect to e-filing, user friendly search portals, which enable login free online public search for patents, etc; further leading to strengthening of the IP system in India. The free online search facility provided by the Indian Patent Office on its official website has been widely utilised by stakeholders and public. The new search facility “Indian Patent Advanced Search System” (InPASS) was launched in the year 2015 enabling sorted segregation of data and ease in the availability of dates, examination request, filing procedures, opposition, as well as Registration procedure. Patent filings, which have hovered around 43,000 for the last five years, saw a 10% surge with 48,904 filings in 2015-16. Of the 48,000 odd filings, the patent office disposed just about half – 21,987 filings — of which 6,326 patents were granted.
Patent Amendment Rules, 2016
Also, this year with the advent of ‘Startup India Initiative’, Startups from the world over will now be able to register patents in India faster and at much lower costs under the expedited examination’ option offered under the latest Patent Amendment Rules, 2016. India has introduced expedited services for patent registration and also included the definition of ‘startup'(for the first time) in the patent rules to pass on special benefits. The amended rules seek to cut the time period for grant of patents from five-seven years to two and a half years immediately and one and a half years by March 2018. For the first time, it has also allowed refund of patent fees. In cases where the application is withdrawn and there is no need for the request for examination, 90% of the amount would be reimbursed. Any payments made twice due to errors in online transaction will also be refunded. The modified rules will allow future applicants to put applications on a fast-track mode if they select India as International Search Authority or International Preliminary Examining Authorities and file applications in India first. Besides, all startups will be able to make use of this facility. This can be seen as a very positive change and encourage more filings, technological advancements and growth.
Public Service Delivery-Efficiency and Transparency
India’s “Global Milestones” in patents was acquired with the status of an International Searching Authority under the Patent Co-operative Treaty, resulting India to now process, so to speak, “International Patents”. Transparency in Patent Application Processing was also introduced with introduction of a centralized serial numbering of patent applications. Further there is existence of online search facilities (“InPass”) and Dynamic Utilities including the real time updates of application status. The report further claims that all necessary assistance is routinely provided through e-mails and help-desk to resolve the queries of Start-ups expeditiously.
Mediation & Conciliation
For the first time, the Patent office collaborated with Delhi State Legal Service Authority (‘DSLSA’) and initiated a process of mediation and conciliation in the contested matters to bring down the pendency in opposition matters. This helped in bringing down the number of pending cases to a very great extent, also guaranteeing speedy dismissal in a lot of cases.
All over, the report of 2015-16 highlighted a lot of major changes and statistics throwing light at not only the technological advancements in India but also how India is becoming a major player in regards to the intellectual property all over the world. Such positive changes is not only leading to increased patent filings, but also providing a path for substantial growth in the future.