India: Indian Patent System Progress Report 2016 – 2017

Last Updated: 27 June 2018
Article by Manisha Singh

The Annual Report released by the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (CGPDTM) of India for the financial year 2016-2017 demonstrates remarkable achievements and progress in terms of delivery of IP services,digitization and streamlining procedures.

  1. Amendments in Patents Rules: Improving end users experience: To simply, streamline and to make patent procedures user friendly in the new digital environment, the Patent Rules 2003 were significantly amended with effect from May 16, 2016 to introduce the following:

    • Streamlining of timelines for disposal of patent applications
    • Start-up as new category of applicant with 80% concession in official fees;
    • Expedited examination for applications for start-ups and applicants electing IPO as ISA/IPEA in PCT applications
    • Withdrawal of application with refund of examination fees, before issuance of examination report;
    • Video-conferencingfacility forhearings;
    • Adjournments for hearings in opposition proceedings limited to two adjournments per party for 30 days each;
    • Electronic filing of documents- mandatory for patent agents
    • Claims are allowed to be deleted before the national phase entry in India
    • Maximum official fees for filing sequence listings capped to INR 1, 20,000.
  2. Procedural Reforms &Process Reengineering

    Some of the procedural reforms and reengineeringin patent process has resulted in following improvements in the system:

    • A centralized automated system introduced forallocation of applications for examination across all 4 patent offices. The new system removesdisparity in time of examination in the same group and eliminates the need for physical presence of examiner at a particular patent office;
    • Official communicationsto be sent electronically by the Patent Office to the applicant or their agents on the registered email ids
    • Patent grant certificates are now generated online and sent to the applicants or theiragentsvia e-mail
    • Stage-wise real-time informationof applications is available on the IPO website.
    • Patent Search Systemis further streamlined
    • Electronic payment gatewayis introduced to expedite the transmission of PCT applications fees to IB and ISA
    • Quality Control system is built for deliverance of quality reports to IP-user public.
  3. Some other Initiatives:

    • A special IPO Support Group is launched to solve the e-filing related problems.
    • Stakeholders meetingswere conducted on various issues to receive feedback/suggestions on procedural and technical issues.
    • Separate gateway has been set up in the IPO website to enable stakeholders to lodge feedback/suggestions/complaints in respect of issues related to functioning of the office.
    • IPO Help-Desk has been activated to resolve e-filing difficulties of stakeholders.
  4. Subject-wise distribution of Examiners of Patents:

  5. Significant Results

    The impact of the aforesaid procedural reforms is well demonstrated by the numbers:

    • Although there has been a marginal dip in totalfiling of the patent applications, the number of applications filed by Indian Applicants has increased from 13066 in 2015-16 to 13219 in 2016-17 showing an increase of 1.2%.
    • Examination of patent applications has dramatically increased by 72.2%.
    • Grant of patentshas increased by 55.3%.
    • Final disposal rate of applications has increased by 37.7%.

  6. Other Results:

    • Inventions related to Atomic Energy: IPOreferred208 applications to the Department of Atomic Energy,out of which109applications were allowed to proceed under normal course and 18applications were found to be related to Atomic Energy.
    • Publication of Patent Applications: The number of publicationsincreased from44068 in 2015-16 to 86766 in 2016-17, whereinthe number of early publicationshas been increased from 2316 in 2015-16 to 2466 in 2016-17.
    • Pre-Grant Opposition:IPO received 206 pre-grant oppositionsand disposed of 18 pre-grant oppositionsduring the year.
    • Post GrantOpposition:IPO received 12 post-grant oppositionsand disposed of 12post-grant oppositionsduring the year.160 casesare stillpending for disposal.
    • Secrecy Direction:IPOreferred119applications toDefence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for their consideration, out of which68 applications were clearedto proceed in the normal course of action.
    • Foreign filing license:IPOreceived4635requestsseeking permission for filing outside India and granted FFL to 4519applications.
    • PatentsRestoration:Received 75 applications for restoration of patentsand61 patentswere restored.
    • Assignment, Mortgage, License etc.:Received 1539 casesfor registration of documents under section68 and 69 and disposed of 961 applications.
    • Working of patents:The number of patents reported in force increased from 44524 in 2015-16to48765 in 2016-17 and the number of patents reported as working increased from 8589in 2015-16to 11318in 2016-17.
    • Compulsory License:No compulsory license was granted during the year.
    • Information under section 153:IPO received 132 requests for supply of information relating to patents under section 153 of the Patents Act.
    • Expedited Examination: IPO received 103 requests from ISA applicants and 32 requests from Startups for expedited examination, out of which 69 cases have been examined, 09 cases have been granted, 03 cases have been refused, and 05 cases have been abandoned.
  7. Trend of PCT International Application:

    The details of International PCT applications filed at RO/IN and RO/IB and searches received at ISA/IN and IPEA/IN are as under:

    Year Filings RO/IN Filings RO/IB Searches ISA/IN Searches IPEA/IN
    2013-14 816 561 135 0
    2014-15 801 614 519 11
    2015-16 693 711 711 24
    2016-17 744 799 940 30
  8. Way Forward:

    To further improve functioning and service delivery of the office and to resolve public grievances more speedily and effectively, the IPO intends to takethe following initiatives: Launch of SMS Alert service to stakeholders regarding Examination reports and time-bound actions to be taken by them, Publishing Periodic List of First examination Reports (FER) issued in the Patent Office E-journal on IPO website, E-verification of signature in addition to the present mode of digital signature, Video-conferencing facility for hearings from the Applicant's office and MobileApp service for providing IP-information and service to stakeholders.

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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