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Dec 02, 2010, 10.40 AM IST | Source: CNBC-TV18

Indian patents hit due to ongoing battle

Examination of patents in Indian patents offices spread across the country has been hit due to an ongoing legal battle between the controller general of patents and patent controllers.

Examination of patents in Indian patents offices spread across the country has been hit due to an ongoing legal battle between the controller general of patents and patent controllers.

As a result, the pending patent applications, which have piled up over the past three years, will need more time to clear, reports CNBC-TV18s Rituparna Bhuyan and Malvika Jain.

Patents for about 80,000 new innovations and inventions are pending examination across patent offices in the country and it seems the wait for clearing the backlog will be long one.

Officials have told CNBC-TV18 that the pace of patent examination has fallen drastically since July this year due to an ongoing legal dispute between the controller general of patents and officials responsible for examining patents.

The problems started in 2008 when the controller general promoted 70 patent examiners to the rank of assistant controllers to fill up vacant posts. The move skewed the ratio of examiners and controllers. And to make matters worse, some of the promoted assistant controllers refused to examine patents.

The patents controller then issued an order mandating about 25 assistant controllers to carry out the additional task of clearing pending applications, who in turn got a stay on the order from the central administrative tribunal and the Chennai high court.

Thanks to the legal dispute, officials claim that about 3000 patent application could get delayed in FY11

Sources also added that the controller general's office will soon approach the supreme court on the matter. While officials in the patent controller's office maintain that all hands on the deck are required to clear the large pending backlog, examiners and assistant controllers allege discrimination and lack of incentives.

The only silver lining in the cloud are the newly recruited patent examiners, who are expected to assume responsibilities in mid or late 2012. But till then, innovators and inventors across the country will have to bear with delays.

Also watch the accompanying video.

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