The government is revamping the patent office functioning to reduce the massive backlog in granting official recognition for innovations by adding manpower and changing the legislative framework, a senior government official said on Friday.
The government is fast-tracking the hiring process and promotions of some existing officers (already 340 examiners were promoted as controllers earlier this week).
The government is also looking at legislative changes to fix timelines for patent grants/rejections, said Sanjeev Sanyal, a member of the PM's Economic Advisory Council, and a secretary to the government.
Supporting more manpower in the patents office, he said this is an office that is revenue positive unlike most of its peers in the government and so it makes sense to have more people and ease the process.
"What we're looking is allowing pre-grant opposition, say for six months as in the US, before the final approval are granted/rejected, so that those who want to oppose the application can do so," he told a seminar on intellectual property rights organized by the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry here.
Sanyal said he is personally looking at drafting the urgently needed legislative changes as what is of critical importance is reforming the very process, and also fixing the legal metrology provisions, which now is a really cumbersome process, and "I am personally working on this now."
He said while over the past few years the efficiency of the system at the examiner level has gone up really high, at the more critical controller level it is stuck leading to massive pendency of applications which is around 1.7 lakh now.
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Giving some comparative numbers, he said China, which is the world leader in both filing and granting patents, has over 13,700 people in its patents office, and the US, which is the second largest, has over 8,140, while India has just about 858 as of 2022.
"But we are increasing the people strength massively now and by FY26 we will have 963 examiners and 998 controllers. In FY22, these numbers were 663 and 773 and in FY20 at 263 and 673, respectively."
On the rise in patents filing and according patents, he said as of FY23, the total number of filings touched 82,809 of which 52.3 per cent or 43,337 applications were from domestic companies and 39,472 were from foreign companies operating here. The domestic share was 37 per cent in FY20 and 44.4 per cent in FY22.
Data on the number of patents granted in FY23 are not available. In FY22 the number of patents granted stood at 34,153 from 82,805 filings and at 30,074 in the previous year from 66,400 filings. As against this, the numbers in China were 6.95 lakh and 15.85 lakh for FY22 and 3.27 lakh and 6.95 lakh in the US.
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