By Bijit Das and Isheta Srivastava
On December 6, 2019, the Indian government stated in Rajya Sabha that attempts are being made to make the Intellectual Property Rights (hereinafter referred to as IPR) Office in the country fully computerized like its US counterpart where most of the function are performed online.
Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said that he is trying to develop a similar module as compared to US where there is one IPR office and everybody works online. It was said by the Government that it has introduced a lot of ‘sanity’ to the functioning of the eight areas of IPR. The Commerce Minister added that “All of these are synergized into one office now. We are in the process of computerizing every process so that people do not have to go to any IPR office whatsoever”.
The government aims at allowing craftsmen and artesans based in rural areas to engage directly through video conferencing on their smartphones and seek advise on patent related issues free of cost.
Earlier this year, the government has already reduced IP registration charges for MSMEs, start-ups, artesans and female enterpreneurs. The proposed reduction for Patent filing fees for MSMEs and start-ups will reduce the price from INR 4,000/4,400 (USD 56/62 Approx.) to INR 1,600/1,750 (USD 22/24 Approx.). The reduction proposed by Ministry of Commerce and Industry (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Ministry’) in the amount of the Patent filing fees and other such fees that has to be paid at different stages in the registration process for MSMEs are given in the table below. It also includes stage wise proposed reduction.
|Activity||Current Fees||Proposed Fees||Reduction%|
|Filing||INR 4,000/4,400 (56/62 USD Approx.)||INR 1,600/1,750 (22/24 USD Approx.)||60%|
|Request for Examination||INR 10,000/11,000 (139/153 USD Approx.)||INR 4,000/4,400 (56/62 USD Approx.)||60%|
|Expedited Examination (Only e-filing)||INR 25,000 (348 USD Approx.)||INR 8,000 (112 USD Approx.)||68%|
|Renewal||INR 2,000 to 20,000 (+10% for physical filing)
(28 to 280 USD Approx.)
|800 to 8,000 (+10% for physical filing) (11 to 112 USD Approx.)||60%|
The Commerce minister also emphasized on the protection of traditional knowledge and said that India’s IPR policy must not only protect traditional medicines but also traditional cultural expression. The government has already conducted an initial study to get a feel of what the road map for this issue should look like, and work on a more detailed analysis is going on. The minister has specified that 3.6 lakh formulations which comprised a part of traditional knowledge have now been made available to 13 patent offices across the world. The commerce minister further said that “we were able to save about 236 cases which otherwise would have got patented somewhere else. They were able to deny the patent in different geographies because of our effort to make the world aware that India has lot of traditional knowledge”
The Commerce Minister assured the house that it is very committed to help rural India connect to the world as far as the country’s traditional knowledge and culture is concerned.