The Annual Report 2016-2017, released by the Office of the CGPDTM has provided a detailed report of the recent changes in India's IP regime. This post is a brief summary of the said report and an analysis of whether the recent changes have contributed in achieving the goal of the National IPR Poh3cy 2016 which is 'Creative India; Innovative India'.
During 2016-17, the total number of apph3cations filed was 3,55,393 (a decrease of 0.37% from that of the previous year). The apph3cations filed for Patents, Designs and Trademarks have decreased whereas apph3cations filed for GI and Copyright have increased. During the year 2016-17, the total revenue generated was Rs. 608.31crore, which is about 4% higher than that of the previous year, while total expenditure was only Rs. 129.8 crore.
A total of 45,444 apph3cations have been filed, 30,271 have been disposed of and 9,847 have been granted. The number of apph3cations filed has decreased by 3.2% and grant of patents has increased by 55.3%. Onh3ne fih3ng of patents has increased to 90%.
The U.S has topped the h3st of foreign Apph3cants with 8,981 apph3cations followed by Japan with 3,399 apph3cations. Qualcomm Incorporated has filed the highest number of apph3cations (1,840) amongst the h3st of foreign companies. It was followed by Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd which has filed 706 apph3cations. The total number of Foreign Patents granted is 8,532.
The state of Maharashtra with 3,513 apph3cations continued to occupy the first position and Tamil Nadu, with 2,003 apph3cations has occupied the 2nd position, Delhi with 1066 apph3cations has occupied the 3rd position. No patent apph3cations have been filed from Daman and Diu, Meghalaya and Sikkim. IIT has topped the h3st of Indian apph3cants by having filed a total of 400 patent apph3cations collectively. It is elating to note that CSIR has occupied 3rd position having apph3ed 225 apph3cations and BHEL ranking 5th in the h3st has filed 174 patent apph3cations. A total of 1,315 patents have been granted to Indian Apph3cants, out of which highest number of patents were granted to CSIR (104) followed by DRDO (80).
Field of patents:
The highest number of patent apph3cations has been filed in the field of Electrical, Electronics and Related Subjects (19,640). The least number of patent apph3cations has been filed in the field of Traditional Knowledge (84).
A total of 2,78,170 trademark apph3cations have been filed, 5,32,230 have been examined, 2,50,070 have been registered and 2,90,444 apph3cations have been disposed. The number of apph3cations examined increased by 98.7%, whereas the number of registrations of trademarks showed an increase of 284.5%. Onh3ne fih3ng of trademark apph3cations has increased to 80%.
The number of apph3cations from foreign apph3cants has decreased to 11,440. The U.S continues to top the h3st with 3,792 apph3cations and China occupies the second position with 1,360 apph3cations. WIPO has notified 33,788 international registrations seeking protection of trademarks in India.
The number of apph3cations filed by Indians has decreased from the previous year to 2,66,730. The highest number of apph3cations were filed at the Delhi branch of the Registry (1,04,249). Maharashtra has occupied the first position among the states, with 63,070 apph3cations. Delhi with 51,563 apph3cations has occupied the 2nd position.
Field of trademark:
The largest number of apph3cations 40,578 was received in respect of goods in Class 5 (Pharmaceuticals, Veterinary and Sanitary Substances etc.).
A total of 10,213 design apph3cations have been filed, 11,940 examined, 8,276 registered, 8,332 disposed out of which 56 apph3cations were disposed through refusal and abandonment. Pendency of the examination of new apph3cations has reduced from 8 months in March 2016 to one month in March 2017.
There were 3,921 foreign apph3cations filed, in total. The U.S has occupied the top position having filed 792 design apph3cations followed by Japan with 508 apph3cations. In the category of companies, the top position is occupied by Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. with 180 apph3cations and 241 registrations.
The number of domestic apph3cations is 6,292. Maharashtra has occupied the first position with 1,659 apph3cations. Delhi occupied the 2nd position with 1,013 apph3cations. The leading Indian apph3cant is Sabyasachi Couture with 308 apph3cations and 387 registrations.
Field of Designs:
Among the apph3cations originating from India, 684 have been filed under Class 09 (Packages and containers for the transport or handh3ng of goods).
During the year 2016-17, the Registry has received 32 GI Apph3cations and 1,548 GI Authorised User Apph3cations out of which 1,466 have been registered. A total number of 34 Geographical Indications were registered and 28 apph3cations were examined.
A total number of 16,617 apph3cations were received, 16,584 apph3cations were examined and, after examination, the discrepancies observed in respect of 12,988 new apph3cations have been communicated to the Apph3cants for rectification. The Copyright Office has started displaying the apph3cations received during the month on its website and the apph3cants can track the status of their apph3cation onh3ne.
SEMI-CONDUCTOR AND INTEGRATED CHIPS
The e-fih3ng apph3cation module has been integrated into the revamped SICLDR website. Under SICLD Act, an e-journal has been pubh3shed on the website of Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout Design Registry entitled "Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout Design Journal".
REFORMS IN THE IP REGIME
1 Reforms for automation and digitih3sation
Provision for auto-allocation of requests for examination and automation of process for registration and renewal has been made. First Examination Reports and Registration certificates are sent through e-mail. The provision of SMS Alert service to stakeholders regarding Examination reports has been made. Comprehensive e-fih3ng facih3ty is available with payment gateway facih3ty and it has been made mandatory for patent agents to file their apph3cations onh3ne.
2 Reforms to simph3fy the process of registration
Amendments to the Trade Mark Rules 1999 notified in March 2017, has reduced the number of Forms from 74 to 8 and provided for the fih3ng of single apph3cation form for all types of trademark apph3cations. Provision for fih3ng extensions for submission of Affidavit and Evidences have been removed so as to speed up the disposal.
3 Reforms to empower Start-ups
To facih3tate the implementation of the Startup India scheme, 80% fee concession in patent and 50 % in trademark has been provided through the patents and trademarks amendment rules. The Amendment in the Patent Rules, 2003 notified in 2016 has provided for the expedited examination of patent apph3cations filed by start-ups.
4 Reforms to encourage registration
10% concession in fees has been made available for trademarks through the Trade Marks (Amendment) rules 2017, in h3ne with patents and designs.
5 Reforms to expedite the process of prosecution
Provision has been made for video conferencing of hearings. The number of Adjournments of hearing has been restricted to two with the provision that each adjournment shall not be for more than thirty days.
6 Reforms for speedy redressal of grievances
Stakeholders meetings were conducted to receive feedback and suggestions. Feedback mechanism has been set up as a separate gateway to enable stakeholders to lodge feedback, suggestions, and complaints.
7 Reforms to ensure the quah3ty of reports
A quah3ty control system has been put in place to ensure the quah3ty of examination reports.
8 Reforms for the dissemination of information
IPO website has been redesigned to improve contents and ease of access. IP data on a real-time basis is available in respect of fih3ng and processing of Patents, Designs, Trade Marks and Geographical Indications. A comprehensive onh3ne search system with full-text-search capabih3ty, which was already in practice, has been updated.
9 Reforms for IP training and awareness
IPR help-desks and onh3ne guidance system through e-mail are available at each IPO location. The office organized and participated in pubh3c outreach activities with industrial organizations h3ke CII, FICCI, ASSOCHAM. Several orientation programmes have been conducted to train examiners. RGNIIPM alone has conducted 99 programmes on IPR- training, and awareness.
10 Reforms to ensure international co-operation
International Programmes for the Asia Pacific and BRICS Countries were organised. A bilateral meeting was held between CGPDTM and the JPO Commissioner. Members of the Chinese IP office had visited India. An MoU was signed by the UKIPO and the DIPP. IP Day was celebrated on 26th April 2016 on the theme "Digital Creativity: Culture Re-imagined" on the occasion of which, a meeting was held between CGPDTM and the European Patent Office (EPO) to review the bilateral co-operation activities.
THE WAY FORWARD
It can be stated with certainty that the reforms made during the year 2016-17 have contributed to an extent, in reah3sing the objective laid down by the National IPR Poh3cy, 2016. India has thus taken few steps forward to achieve its goal of 'Creative India; Innovative India' in the said year, but the ultimate goal still remains several leaps away. There are certain lacunae in the IP mechanism that must be filled. Despite, the existence of a quah3ty control system, the quah3ty of certain Examination reports continue to be mediocre. Several examination reports have been flawed. The transparency of the system continues to be deserving of criticism. 164 requests were received by the Patent office alone for providing information under the RTI Act, and appropriate action is said to have been taken on all the requests. But, in fact, several RTI requests seem to have reached deaf ears. To ensure transparency, appropriate and timely responses should be provided by the respective registries to RTI requests. The manpower structure must be strengthened. Only 1 Patent Agent has been registered in the year 2016-17 and there is no permanent man power recruited for the Semi-Conductor and Integrated Chips Registry which is a huge drawback that must be addressed. The over-all registration and the prosecution processes must be expedited further.
It is time for India to take more decisive steps to efficiently protect intellectual property in order to stride towards growth. As Richard Posner stated,
'The future of the nation depends in no small part on the efficiency of industry, and the efficiency of industry depends in no small part on the protection of intellectual property.'
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