With the new government led by Narendra Modi, India has seen
increasing IP awareness, growth and reforms aimed at strengthening
the IP rights regime. Since its inception, the Government has been
consistently trying to revamp IP policies in India. Even the Indian
IP Office has been upgrading IP records and making efforts to bring
about transparency in its procedures. This article will discuss:
(i) Government initiatives and the national IP rights (IPR) policy;
(ii) IP rights trends in the past year; (iii) recent developments
in IP administration and management; and, (iv) recent case law.
Last year, the Indian Government entered into several reform
policies to strengthen the IP regime in India. One of its initial
steps was the constitution of the IPR think tank for drafting the
national IPR policy and advising the Government on such policy
The draft national IPR policy as published by the DIPP
(Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion) in December 2014
outlines its objectives in seven areas: IP awareness and promotion;
creation of IP; legal and legislative framework; IP administration
and management; commercialisation of IP; enforcement and
adjudication; and, human capital development.
The draft also highlights the steps taken towards integrating IP
with Government initiatives like Make in India and Digital India.
Under the Make in India initiative, the Government is at- tempting
to transform India into a world-class manufacturing hub, with the
intention of fostering innovation and creativity by generating,
protecting and utilising IP assets. The Digital India initiative
involves components like smart cities, e-governance, e-literacy,
e-commerce, strengthening and expansion of digital infrastructure
and transforming India into an electronic system, design and
At present, the policy has received input from and its final
version is being drafted for approval by the cabinet.
Recent IPR trends
In June 2015, the Indian IP Office released its Annual Report
(2013-3014). The Report demonstrates the progress in the filing and
disposal of IP applications in India during the reporting year. The
Report showed several trends.
In trade mark filing, the Report indicated an increase of 2.98%
as compared to the previous year's filings (see figure 1).
In patent filing, the Report witnessed a marginal decrease of
1.65% in filing as compared to various stakeholders, organisations
and countries the previous year (see figure 2).
In design filing, the Report witnessed an in- crease of 2.35% as
compared to the previous year (see figure 3).
IP management and administration
Over recent years, the Indian IP Office has been striving
towards the digitisation of the Office and bringing about
transparency in the maintenance of IP records.
In September 2014, the CGPDTM (Controller General of Patents
Designs and Trademarks) re- leased a new version of the electronic
patent register in IPAIRS. The new version comprises an additional
tab, namely 'patent e-register', which accepts six-digit
patent numbers and displays additional details of a patent such as
legal status, due dates, information on the working of patents, and
parent or divisional applications.
In January 2015, the CGPDTM launched the design application
search utility which enables searches using several parameters such
as application number, date of filing, applicant's name, state
and country, name of article, IDC class, priority date, journal
number and publication date.
Earlier searches could only be conducted through application
In order to promote the online filing of copy-right
applications, the Copyright Office stopped the physical filing of
applications in August 2014. In March 2015, the CGPDTM launched
electronic filing for new design registration applications. From
March 2015, GI applications can be submitted online at the portal
www.ipindia.gov.in or www.ipindia.nic.in.
The CGPDTM has published a draft manual of trade mark practice
and procedure. The manual has been published with the objective of
bringing about uniformity in practice and prosecution of trade mark
applications in India. The manual brings together the provisions of
the Trademark Act and corresponding Trademark Rules along with the
office practice followed in the examination and prosecution of
trade mark applications.
In March 2015, Shri Rajiv Aggarwal, joint secretary of the
Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion took charge as the
new Controller General of the Indian IP Office.
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