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Exclusive | Govt to introduce further reforms to push more Indian patents, raise awareness

A consistent push to simplify patent filings by reducing fees and digitising them have led to a major rise in patent filings in India. But most applications are still from foreign entities.

August 06, 2021 / 01:55 PM IST
According to official data, the number of patents granted in India has gone up from 6,326 in 2015-16 to 28,391 in 2020-21.

According to official data, the number of patents granted in India has gone up from 6,326 in 2015-16 to 28,391 in 2020-21.

The Commerce and Industry Ministry is set to introduce further reforms in the patent filing process to expedite the application, examination and approval of all intellectual property rights, according to sources.

The main focus remains on patent filings, which has been pushed by the government over the past three years. Sources at the office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (CGPDT) said that while patent filings have risen quickly over the past few years, the aim now is to raise the share of Indian filings vis-a-vis foreign ones.

According to official data, the number of patents granted in India has gone up from 6,326 in 2015-16 to 28,391 in 2020-21. Trade marks registration has shot up from 65,045 in 2015-16 to 2,55,993 in 2020-21. Similarly, while 4,505 copyrights were granted in 2015-16, a total of 16,402 were granted last fiscal.

As a result, the country’s ranking in the Global Innovation Index has climbed 33 notches, from the 81st position in 2015-16 to 48th in 2020.

However, the majority of patents continue to be filed by foreign firms in India. According to the Science & Technology Indicators (STI 2019-20) report by the Department of Science and Technology, about 76 percent of patents filed in India since 2000 has been by foreigners.

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Most of this comes from the US, with American tech giant Qualcomm reported to be the largest filer of patent applications in India.

"To raise patent applications from Indians, we have to raise our capacity, invest in the sector and massively raise awareness. A major overhaul of the entire process is being undertaken, in line with the National IPR Policy," said an official.

Engaging faculty from renowned institutions on a part-time basis to help in the patent examination process is one of the ideas being toyed with. A major upgrade to the existing awareness programme of the government is also expected.

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal has also suggested instituting scholarships for students studying Intellectual Property law in India.

Major changes made

The government has already instituted significant reforms to make the process less complicated. The IP process has been streamlined by re-engineering it and including new timelines for disposal, along with a shift to the digital mode to promote ease of filing and obtaining services. A case in point is that under Trade Mark Rules 74, the forms have been replaced by eight consolidated forms.

Officials say every application is now processed online from start to finish while hearings are conducted on phones. This has reduced chances of corruption and interference in the process as well, they add. As a result, E-filing has increased from 30 percent earlier to more than 95 percent now.

Filing fees for start-ups, MSMEs and women entrepreneurs have also been reduced by 80 percent.
Subhayan Chakraborty has been regularly reporting on international trade, foreign policy, and evolving industry and government issues for the past 6 years.
first published: Aug 4, 2021 03:00 pm

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