The Indian Patent Office (IPO) has published the Annual report for the financial year 2016-17 (based on data from 1st April 2016 to 31st March 2017).
As per the Annual report, as a result of the various procedural reforms implemented during the year, the office of CGPDTM has made remarkable achievements in terms of delivery of IP services and IT-enabled functioning during 2016-17. The following are some of the noticeable achievements for Patents:-
- The number of patent applications examined increased by 72.2%
- Number of grant of patents increased by 55.3%
- Final disposal of applications increased by 37.7%, as compared to 2015-16
- During the year, online filing has increased to 90% in patents
- Domestic filing show 1.2% increase as compared to 2015-16.
The following are some of the noticeable achievements for Trademark and Designs:-
- Pendency of examination of trademark applications has been brought down from around 14 months to less than 1 month in January 2017.
- Procedural reforms in examination resulted in increased acceptance of trademark applications for publication from less than 10% to about 40%.
- In Designs, pendency in examination of new applications has reduced from 8 months in March 2016 to one month in March 2017.
- During the year, online filing has increased to 80% for trademarks.
Other important facts for patents that can be inferred from the report are as follow:-
- During the year, the office examined 28,967 patent applications as compared to 16,851 applications during the previous year. Thus, there has been about 72% increase in the number of patent applications for which first examination reports were issued, as compared to the previous year.
- Also, during this year 30271 applications (Requests for examination) were disposed of as compared to 21987 in the previous year, which shows 39.7% increase during 2016-17.
- Further, filing of Requests for the examination has increased by 7.2% from 36960 in 2015-16 to 38578 during 2016-17.
- The total number of patents granted during the year was 9,847 out of which 1,315 were granted to Indian applicants. Out of the total granted patents, 2,673 patents were granted to applications relating to the Chemical and related fields, 1,939 to Mechanical, 1,049 to Computer Science and Electronics, 805 to Communication, 551 to Pharmaceuticals, 579 to Electrical, 333 to Biotechnology etc.
- By way of representations, 206 pre-grant oppositions were received in the office and 18 pre-grant oppositions were disposed of during the year.
- Also, 12 post-grant oppositions were filed during the year. 12 post-grant oppositions were disposed of during the year and 160 cases remained pending for disposal by the end of the reporting year.
- During the reporting year, the Office initiated expedited examination of patent applications filed by Applicants for ISR/IPER before Indian Patent Office as ISA and Startups as per provisions of Rule 24(C) of the Patents (amendment) Rules 2016.
- 135 requests for expedited examination of applications were filed during the year which included 103 Request from ISA Applicants and 32 requests from Start ups.
- Top 5 Indian applicants for patents are Indian institute of technology, Wipro limited, Council of scientific and industrial research, Mahindra & Mahindra limited, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd.
- In the field of Information technology, Wipro Limited occupied the top place in the reporting year while Tata Consultancy Services Limited was at the second place
- Amongst institutes and universities, this year, the Indian Institute of Technology (collectively) occupied the first position while, Amity University & Indian Institute of Science occupied second and third place respectively.
The report also highlights the following improvements that have been brought about in the functioning of Patent Office by Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2016 and other reforms implemented during 2016:
- Streamlining timelines for disposal of patent applications,
- Creation of Startup as a new category of applicant and facilitating Startup applications with 80% Fee concession,
- Expedited examination of patent applications filed by startups and the applicants selecting Indian Patent Office as ISA/IPEA for their PCT applications,
- Withdrawal of application before the issuance of the First Examination Report, if applicant is not interested in pursuing examination of his application filed for patent and refund of fees paid for Request for Examination allowed.
- Hearing through Video-conferencing or audio-visual communication devices is allowed on request made by applicant at all Patent Office locations.
- Adjournments of hearing in opposition proceedings has been restricted to maximum two by each party, which will help to dispose of the matters in time. It is also provided that each adjournments shall not be more than 30 days.
- Mandatory online filing by patent agents in order to speed up digitisation and processing of patent applications.
- PCT applicant can now delete some claims while entering the national phase entry in India
- Fees for sequence listings has been reduced with the maximum fee put at INR 1,20,000.
- Auto- allocation of Requests for examination: This system has brought in a single group-wise queue of Requests of Examination to have uniform examination at all patent Office locations with respect to date of filing of Request of examination.
- E-Communication: First Examination Reports are sent through e-mail. Hearing notices are also sent through E-mail. This helps in speeding up the procedures.
- Automation of Patent grant certificates: Certificates are generated and transmitted to the applicant on the registered email and made available on the official website. Same can be downloaded and printed as desired by the applicant.
- Patent Search System: A login-free online public search facilities for patents, “Indian Patent Advanced Search System (InPASS)”, having full text search capability, already in practice have been updated during the year to further streamline the search system.
- Electronic payment gateway for PCT application fees has been introduced from 1st April 2016 to avoid delay in transmission of fees for PCT applications to International Bureau and International Searching Authority.
- Dynamic utilities: Many dynamic utilities on patent are available in the IPO website for the benefit of public like displaying the status on disposal of patent applications by the respective examination groups during the specified period, viewing “First Examination Report (FER)” issued (Jurisdiction and Group-wise) at all locations of Patent Office etc.