The Annual Report issued by the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (CGPDTM) for the financial year 2019-20 illustrates it’s continued efforts in strengthening the IPR framework of the country and aligning it with global standard in the said year. Simplification and IT-enabled functioning of procedures as well as growth in technical manpower has considerably improved timelines of processing applications as well reduced existing backlogs. Out of 220 Examiners of Patents and Designs recruited last year, 181 have also been trained and inducted in their respective groups.
Though in March 2020 performance was affected due to the lockdown attributable to the Covid-19 pandemic, the IPO took the requisite steps to revive its functions for efficient online activities, extension of procedural timelines as well as work-from-home facilities for its officers. Examinations, hearings, grants, and other essential functions were all conducted online without any disruptions.
Amended Patent Rules widened the scope of Expedited Examinations for numerous categories including SMEs, government departments, etc. The Indian Patent Office also integrated WIPO Digital Access Services (DAS) and WIPO Centralized Access to Search and Examination (CASE) with its examination module thereby reducing the burden on Applicants with respect to documents to be filed. Bilateral cooperation between India and Japan was strengthened by way of the Patent Prosecution Highway. It is evident that the CGPTDM endeavors to make India a global-standard hub of IP infrastructure and growth.
- More than 90% of trademark applications have been filed online.
- The largest number applications have been filed in Class 5 (pharmaceuticals, veterinary and sanitary substances etc.) with 15.12% share in all filings, followed by Class 35 (Advertising, business management and related services) with 10.18% share in overall filing.
- The number of applications filed has increased to 3,34,805 as compared to 3,23,798 applications in the previous year. 13,865 of these applications were filed by foreign applicants with United States followed by China topping the list of foreign applicants
- Examination and Publication
- The timeline for examination of new applications continues to be less than 1 month despite increase in filings.
- Procedural and administrative changes have positively impacted the examination process and about 50% of the new applications are now accepted at the initial stage.
- The number of applications published this year is 3,78,147 which shows a slight dip in comparison to 3,96,063 publications in the previous year. This dip could be attributed to the functioning getting affected in March 2020 due to Covid-19 pandemic.
- Registration and Disposal
- There was 7.14% decrease in issuance of trademark registrations due to the functioning being affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020. 2,94,172 trademarks have been registered as compared to 3,16,798 registrations in the previous year.
- Similarly, 4,19,566 applications were disposed of as compared to 5,19,185 applications in the previous year, diminishing the overall percentage by 19.18%.
Working of the Madrid Protocol
In 2019-20, WIPO notified 14,001 international registrations to the Indian office. The Indian office communicated 4,484 provisional refusals based on examination and 939 provisional refusals based on third party oppositions to the WIPO. 14,699 marks were granted protection under international registration.
1,664 Indian origin applications were submitted to the Indian office under the Madrid system, out of which 1,566 applications were verified, certified, and forwarded to WIPO from which 1,218 marks were registered at the level of WIPO.
Details of Opposition/Rectification Applications Filed at Various Offices in the Year 2019-20
|S. No.||Place of Hearing||Oppositions/Rectifications Filed||Cases Disposed Off|
- In 2019-20, a total of 56, 267 applications were filed showcasing an increase of 11.1% from the previous year’s 50,569. The total number of applications filed by Indian Applicants has been 20,834 as compared to 17,005 in the previous year, exhibiting an increase of 22.6%.
- Domestic filings have been 37.05% of the total filings in the year 2019-20 as compared to 33.6% in the 2018-19. Topmost Indian applicant in the field of information technology has been Mesbro Technologies Pvt. Ltd.; from scientific research and development organizations, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) takes the first place followed by Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), and from the field of academia, IITs (Indian Institute of Technology, collectively) have bagged the first position.
- With respect to applications filed by foreign applicants, there has been an increase of 5.3% from the previous year’s 33,654 to 35,424 in 2019-20. Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. ranked first in the list of filings followed by Qualcomm Incorporated.
- The number of patent applications examined were decreased to 80,080 as compared to 85,426 in the previous year due to non-availability of examiners because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Grant and Disposal
- In 2019-20, 24,936 patents were granted as compared to 15,283 in 2018-19, showing a tremendous increase of 63.16%.
- A total of 55,945 requests for examinations were disposed of in 2019-20, showcasing an increase of 9.95% from the previous year’s 50,884 applications.
- As of March 2020, 81,279 patents are in force. Statements on working patents were received for 57,192 applications out of which 16,181 were reported as working.
Working of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
Under the PCT, a national resident applicant from India can file the application either through Receiving Office of India (RO/IN) or through Receiving Office of the International Bureau (RO/IB). In the year 2019-20, RO/IN has for the first time emerged as the preferred office with 1019 filings in comparison to 865 filings made to RO/IB. Also, 98% of the filing received by RO/IN were made electronically using ePCT. RO/IN also utilizes e-PCT for sending Record Copies and Search Copies. The timelines in sending Record Copies to the International Bureau of WIPO within the prescribed time limit of 4 weeks from the International Filing Date has also been impeccable 100%, same as the previous year.
In the year 2019-20, the Indian Patent Office continued to maintain 9th position out of the 23 Patents office working as ISA/IPEA in respect of the number of Search Copies received. 82% of the Indian applicants chose the Indian Patent Office as the ISA despite having the option of 6 other ISA/IPEA as competent authorities for Indian applicants. 100% International Search and Examination Reports were established within the time limit prescribed by WIPO.
The Indian Patent Office has also started sharing its Search Strategies for publication on the Patentscope Search Portal of WIPO making India the seventh International Authority to do so out of 23 ISA/IPEA. This step is significant for applicants as well other Offices to see the level of services provided by the Indian Patent Office.
- 14,290 applications were filed in the year 2019-20 showcasing an increase of 13.55% increase from the last year’s 12585 applications. Number of applications originating from India was about 68% of the total filing.
- Leading Indian Applicants include inter alia Sabyasachi Couture, Relaxo Footwear Limited, Siddhi Vinayak Knots & Prints Pvt. Ltd., Biba Apparels Private Limited and Hero Moto Corp Limited.
- United States topped the list of foreign applicants followed by China. Leading Foreign Applicants include Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Renault S.A.S, Beijing Xiaomi Mobile Software Co, Ltd., Koninkilijke Philips N.V among others.
- A total of 13, 642 applications were examined. Pendency in the examination of new applications continued to be around 1 month.
- Registration and Disposal
- 12,256 designs registered in the year 2019-20 as compared to 9,483 in the previous year, exhibiting an increase of 29.2%.
- 14,701 applications were disposed of in 2019-20 as compared to 11,414 in the previous year, showing an increase of 28.8%.
|Year||Filed||Examined||Registered||Disposal of Applications|
Computerization and automation of the copyright application process has immensely improved the performance in this domain. An increase of 20.02% has been recorded in the filing of copyright applications and of 9.6% in registration of copyright. Examination of new applications are done immediately after one month which is the mandatory waiting period for inviting objections in respect of new applications.
|Year||Total Applications Received||Total Applications Examined||Register of Copyright (RoC) Generated||Total Disposal|
E. GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATIONS
The Geographical Indications Registry (GIR) started receiving the applications for registration since the year 2003. From 2003 till March 31, 2020, GIR received a total of 687 GI applications out of which, 365 GIs have been registered. As far as authorized user applications are concerned, 6858 applications are filed since 2003 to March 31, 2020, and 4380 authorized user certificates have been issued.
In the relevant year, April 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020, GIR received 42 applications for GI registration and 1476 authorized user applications. Out of these applications, 22 GIs and 773 authorized users were registered.
The highest number of GIs registered in India till March 31, 2020, are for handicraft products including textiles (total 210), followed by agricultural products (total 111). The State of Karnataka holds the maximum number of registered GIs (total 45; 42 solely and 3 jointly with other states), followed by the State of Tamil Nadu (total 38; 36 solely and 2 jointly with other states).
As can be seen above, the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (CGPDTM) has shown a steady pace in the year 2019-20, despite facing the difficulties posed by the pandemic during the end of the year. With the help of quick procedural and administrative updates, the IP office seamlessly transformed its workings and revamped itself into a system that is adaptable to the unprecedented pandemic times. This has allowed it to create a robust environment for the owners of intellectual property to wholly participate in an IP ecosystem that will foster industrial growth in the country.
Aprajita Nigam discusses the highlights of the annual report issued by the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (CGPDTM) for the financial year 2019-20. The report illustrates CGPDTM’s continued efforts in strengthening the IPR framework of the country and aligning it with global standards.