India: Highlights Of Patent Annual Report & Trends

Last Updated: 12 June 2018
Article by Intepat Team

Highlights of Patent Annual Report 2017

2016-17 saw the coming of force of the Patent Rules (Amendment), 2016 which brought many positive amendments to the 2003 rules. Some changes include the reduction of time for filing response to first examination report from 12 months to 6 months, conducting hearings through video-conferencing, treatment of start-ups as natural individual persons, reducing the application period from the prevailing 5-7 years to 18 months by March 2018 etc. It appears that these measures to optimize and expedite the patenting process have proven to be successful as per the annual reports issued by the Indian Patent Office (IPO).

Highlights of the year include

  • The number of patent examinations increased by 72%, i.e. an increase of 8,116 examinations.
  • Grant of patents increased by 55.3%
  • Final disposal of applications increased by 37.7%
  • Using the expedited examination route, patent granted within a record time of 113 days

The details of statistics are as follows;

Applicants

Though the system has been made much more efficient, the total number of applications did not show a significant difference (applications increased by 3% to 45,444 applications). There was also a marginal increase in the applications filed by Indian inventors (increased by 1.2% to 13,219). The foreign applications, on the other hand, saw a decline in number by 4.8% to 32,225 applications. However, these numbers are no statistically significant. Though IPO has achieved various objectives of the National IPR Policy issued by the cabinet, it has failed to promote innovation within the country as the number of domestic applications remained almost the same. The IPO should have taken active efforts to encourage domestic innovation which will ultimately help the country to achieve sustainability.

Examinations, Disposals and Grants

It is pertinent to note that the IPO has brought itself in line with the Digital India Campaign and the National IPR Policy as the online filings for this year increase by 90%.The IPO also recorded some spectacular numbers in the examination, disposal and grant of patents. This year saw an increase in the number of examinations from 16,851 applications during the previous year to 28,967 patent applications, i.e. an increase of 72%.The filing of Requests for the examination has also increased by 7.2% from 36960 in 2015-16 to 38578 during 2016-17. There was also a sharp increase in the number of final disposals of patent applications. It increased from 21,987 to 30,271, i.e. an increase by 39.7%.

                                          Patent Trends

Year

2012-13

2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

Filed

43674

42951

42763

46904

45444

Examined

12268

18615

22631

16851

28967

Granted

4126

4227

5978

6326

9847

Disposed

9027

11411

14316

21987

30271

These can be largely attributed to the 2016 amendment. The amendment was brought about to optimize these procedure to reduce time and cost through digitization and automation. However, these technological improvements obscure the lack of manpower. This issue was observed and plans were made to address this issue in the previous year itself, yet no efforts were made as only 1 patent agent was registered in this year. There is a dire need for manpower, or at least there is a need for technological or policy changes to bring the ratio of disposals to applications to 1:1 or above. Otherwise, the pendency of applications is only expected to mount up.

Misc. Proceedings

During the reporting year, the Office initiated expedited examination of patent applications filed by Applicants for ISR/IPER before Indian Patent Office as ISA and Startups as per provisions of Rule 24(C) of the Patents (amendment) Rules 2016.

Meanwhile, 206 pre-grant proceedings were received in the office while only 18 were disposed in the year. Meanwhile, 12 post-grant oppositions were received in the office and 12 were disposed in the year. Despite digitization, the number of oppositions settled has declined when compared to the previous year. This is a cause for concern as there are nearly 160 cases remain pending for disposal at the end of the year; and with such a slow rate of disposals, the number of pending cases is only expected to pile up.

Conclusion

The above achievements can largely be attributed to the 2016 amendment which brought efficiency to the system. The IPO has certainly lived up to the objectives of the National IPR Policy and has worked towards promoting creativity and innovation in the country. These achievements are truly remarkable; however, the IPO still has ways to go. Despite having the state-of-the-art facilities, the services provided by the IPO are not at par with the world standards. In order to compete at the global level, there is a need to address the gaps which are fundamental to the system. It is only when such measures are taken, the IPO can achieve its ultimate goal 'Creative India; Innovative India'.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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