By Vikrant Rana and Ragini Ghosh
Intellectual Property Annual Report for the year 2019-20
The Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Office of the CGPDTM’ or ‘CGPDTM’) strives to strengthen the IPR Framework of the country and provide a balanced and transparent ecosystem, in league with international standards. It aims to ensure timely delivery of IP services in a transparent and applicant-friendly manner while simultaneously simplifying IP procedures, creating a digital environment and resolving public grievances effectively. It endeavours to establish a vibrant and balanced IP regime in the country to support the country’s innovation and developmental objectives. The Office of the CGPDTM has made remarkable achievements in performance, delivery of IP services, and IT-enabled functioning this past year. CGPDTM has set up a prompt grievance redressal mechanism for stakeholders. Apart from regular stakeholder meetings held at various locations, the facility of Online Feedback Mechanism as provided on the website is now being increasingly utilized by those seeking prompt and efficient relief from difficulty. Improvement in IP administration, digital reforms and re-engineering of the IP procedures has resulted in improved performance efficiency, decreased pendency, and higher rate of disposal of IP applications, despite COVID-enforced lockdowns. Relevant steps were taken to revive IPO functioning post lifting of the lockdowns, and implementing efficient online functioning and work from home for officers and staff to ensure smooth operations with minimal delays. Towards nurturing bilateral co-operation at the international level, India launched the pilot programme of the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) with Japan in December 2019 and made significant contributions to the working of the WIPO.
With its responsibilities in mind, the Office on August 29, 2021, released its Intellectual Property Annual Report for the year 2019-20. The details of the activities performed by various offices under the CGPDTM during the year as well as the revenue and expenditure details of all offices under the CGPDTM and other relevant statistics are also included in it. Some of the highlights are mentioned in detail below:
The Intellectual Property Annual Report shows that this year overall filing of applications for various IPRs (4,27,309) has been higher as compared to the previous year (4,05,324), exhibiting an overall increase of 5.42%.
Trends in last five years with respect to filing of IP applications are shown below:
During the year, 56,267 patent applications were filed exhibiting an increase in filing of 11.1% as compared to the previous year. The trends of last five years in respect of patent applications filed, examined, granted, and disposed are given below. Disposal of applications includes patents granted/refused by the patent office and applications withdrawn and abandoned by the applicants. Further, during 2019-20, the percentage of domestic patents filed has increased to 20, 843 which is 37.05% of the total no. of patents filed as compared to 33.6% in 2018-19.
Foreign Patent filings in India
Of the two (2) methods by which international applicants can file for protection of their patents in India, the break-up over the last year was 3,637 applications under the Paris Convention (a slight decrease of about 7% from the previous year’s figure of 3,911) and 28,832 applications under the PCT National Phase route (showing a modest increase of 7% from last year’s figure of 26,966).
The trend of PCT National Phase filing over the last 5 years is as below:
During this year, a total of 14,290 design applications were filed, exhibiting an increase of 13.55% over the last year. The number of design applications examined was 13,642, showing an increase of 7.76%. Registration and disposal of design applications increased by 29.2% and 28.8% respectively in 2019-20 as compared to 2018-19.
During the reported year, 3,34,805 trademark applications were filed. The number of applications examined is more than applications filed during this period and pendency in examination has been brought down to less than a month. The number of trademark registrations and disposals are less for the said year as compared to the earlier year as old pendencies from the last 3 years have been cleared.
Applications under Madrid Protocol
Over the course of the reported year, the Indian Trade Marks Registry received 1,664 applications for international registration of trademarks under the Madrid Protocol, out of which 1,566 were verified, certified and transmitted back to WIPO and 1,218 marks were registered at the international level.
During the reported year, WIPO had notified a total of 14,001 international registrations also seeking protection in India. A total of 14,294 IRDIs were examined out of which 4,484 provisional refusals based on examination, and 939 provisional refusals based on third party oppositions were communicated to WIPO. 14,699 international registrations were granted protection in India within which 10,570 registrations were granted protection without the applicants even having to approach the Indian office. A total of 10,019 international registrations were refused protection in India the reported year.
During the reported year, a total of 42 applications were filed, 51 applications were examined, and a total number of 22 Geographical Indications were registered. The trends in GI applications filed, examined, and registered during the last five years are given below.
A total number of 21, 905 applications for copyright registration were received in the past year. 29,670 was the total number of applications examined during the year, and 16,029 copyright registrations were granted. Total number of application disposals was 22,516. The trends in copyright applications filed, examined, and registered during the last four years are given below.
Notable International Treaty Accession
During the year, Union Cabinet has approved India’s accession to the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and the WIPO Performers and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT), which extends coverage of copyright to the digital and online environment.
PATENT (AMENDMENT) RULES, 2019
Some of the key improvements brought about by the Patent (Amendment) Rules, 2019 are as below:
- Facility of Expedited Examination extended to a further 8 categories, in addition to the existing 2, namely:
- Small entities;
- Female natural persons (whether singly or as a joint applicant);
- controlled institutions;
- Institution wholly or substantially financed by the Govt.;
- Application pertains to a notified sector;
- Application eligible under an arrangement between the Indian Patent Office and a foreign patent office.
- Transmittal fee for international application (under e-PCT filing) and fee for preparing and transmitting certified copy of priority document through WIPO DAS proposed to be waived;
PROCEDURAL IMPROVEMENTS IN OFFICE FUNCTIONS UNDER CGPDTM
- Commenced periodic publication of issued FERs;
- Patent grant certificate is now being sent directly to applicant’s email address;
- Implementation of facility for conducting hearings via video conferencing;
- Manual of Patent Office Practice and Procedure updated and uploaded on website.
- Online search facility for classification of goods and services for trademarks has been further updated;
- Automatic allotment of applications for examination based upon date of filing.
- Automatic generation and despatch (by email) of Registration Certificates after completion of stipulated time after publication;
- Automation of renewal process and update (for renewals filed within time).
- Started displaying list of applications received during a month and status of pending and disposed applications on the Copyright Office website for universal stakeholder access;
- Introduced provision to upload soft copy of literary/artistic/dramatic works through online portal to facilitate seamless registration;
- Draft Copyright (Amendment) Rules notified on May 30, 2019.
IT INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS AND ENHANCED DIGITIZATION
During the year, IT infrastructure of the CGPDTM Office were upgraded at all locations to cope with increased digitization of services and processing. Especially during the period of the COVID pandemic, this enabled officials to operate from home, ensuring uninterrupted online transactions and communications with stakeholders over e-mail.
Comprehensive e-filing facility for patents, designs and trademarks is now available 24×7 via the payment gateway.
Feedback mechanism through IPO website has been set up to promptly address stakeholder grievances and queries.
INITIATIVES FOR START-UPS
- Substantial fee concession provided to start-ups under Start-Up India Scheme, i.e. 80% fee concession in patent applications and 50% concession for trademark applications, in filing and all subsequent procedures;
- SIPP Scheme launched to provide access to Start-Up facilitators whose professional charges will be borne by the Government, thereby making their professional services free for the start-up enterprises.