India -IP office Annual report for 2021-2022 shows vibrancy in IP Environment

The Intellectual Property Office has recently issued its annual report for the year 2021-2022. Our post covers some key aspects.

  • The report mentions that fee concessions and provisions for the expedited examination have been given to specific categories of applicants, including Startups, MSMEs, and female applicants, to encourage IP filing in the sectors of critical importance to the country.
  • To recognize the importance of educational institutes in the country’s innovation and IP ecosystem and encourage greater participation, the Patents Rules, 2003, were amended on September 21, 2021, to reduce official fees payable for patent filing and prosecution by 80%.
  • To streamline the processing of Trademark applications by extensive use of information technology and to facilitate the stakeholders, all Show Cause Applications hearings (applications that are not accepted after the written response has been filed by the applicant to preliminary refusal) were shifted entirely to Video Conferencing mode.
  • To address the Covid-19 pandemic, the IP office took measures. It speedily transformed the functioning to a virtual mode to minimize the adverse effect on the efficient examination of the IP applications due to the imposition of lockdowns. Steps were taken to implement “work from home” through a VPN facility that ensured secured access to officers and staff. It enabled the officers to conduct online examinations, hearings, grants, and registration of IP applications without any disruption due to the pandemic.
  • Procedural reforms brought in by amendments in rules and process reengineering have increased trademark applications’ acceptance at the initial stage to about 50%. Copyright Office has also shown improved performance due to computerization and reengineering of processes. The filing of copyright applications has increased by 26.74%, while registration of copyright increased by 26.06% compared to last year.
  • India has also proposed the inclusion of the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) in the PCT Minimum Documentation.

Data from the report shows:

  1. Overall, IP filings have seen a growth in numbers. Patent application numbers increased by 13.57%, Design by 59.38%, trademark registration by 2.12%, and copyright filings by 26.74%.
  2. The trend in TM filing shows that as in the previous year, this year also, the most significant number of applications received was in respect of goods in Class 05 (Pharmaceuticals, Veterinary and Sanitary Substances, etc.) with 12.95% of total registration share, followed by Class 35 (Advertising, business management, business administration, office functions) taking 8.41% of the total registration shares.
  3. In terms of Patent filing, the number shows total patent applications filed in 2021-2022 is 66,440 showing an increase of 13.57% over the filing figure of 58,503 in 2020-2021.

Trends in Trade Marks Applications for last 5 Years:

It is interesting to see from the above that during this year, 447805 applications for registration of trademarks were filed and 431520 applications were examined and pendency in examination has been brought down to less than a month. The number of trademark registrations and disposals during 2021-2022 increased by 2.12% and 8.11% respectively, as compared to last year.

Trends in Patent Applications during the last 5 years:

During 2021-2022, a total of 66440 patent applications were filed exhibiting an increase of about 13.57% as compared to previous year. Domestic filing of patent applications has also increased to 29508, which is 44.41% of total filing as compared to 41.58% in 2020-2021. The trend in Patent filing shows that during the 2021-2022, filing of applications in almost every field of inventions has shown a modest to high growth, especially in the fields of Computer Science and Electronics, Communication, Mechanical and Electrical.

Trends in Design Applications during the last 5 years:

For FY 2021-2022, a total of 22,699 design applications were filed showing 59.38% increase over the last year. The number of design applications examined was 22120 showing an increase of 59.75%, whereas registration and disposal of design applications during 2021-2022 increased by 66.85% and 68.68% respectively, as compared to last year.

Trends in Copyright Applications during the last 5 years:

For FY 2021-2022, a total of 30988 design applications were received for copyright registration. Total 29106 applications were examined and 20673 registrations of Copyright (ROC) were done, whereas a total number of applications disposed were 20820.

International Applications through Madrid:

Till the end of the FY 2021-2022, the Indian Trademark Office had received 2398 applications for international registration of trademarks under the Madrid System, out of which 2223 applications were verified, certified and transmitted to the WIPO by Indian Office and their registrations with the WIPO under the Madrid System for last 5 years as follows:

  • The WIPO had notified the Indian Office 15109 international registrations seeking protection of trademarks in India. A mirror record of all these international registrations was created in the form of IRDI and 14406 IRDIs were examined.
  • In respect of 9193 cases provisional refusals based on examination were communicated to the WIPO. 700 provisional refusals, based on third party oppositions received pursuant to publication in the trademark journal were communicated to the WIPO.
  • 53 oppositions were disposed and the Grant of Protection in case of 6971 international registrations were sent to the WIPO after completing all the procedures under the Trademarks Act;
  • 575 international registrations were refused protection of mark in India.

Trademark Oppositions and cancellation/Rectification:

As per the report, 54,990 applications were opposed during the year 2021-22 and 4071 applications for rectification of the Register of Trade Marks by cancelling or varying registration of trademarks were filed. 7233 such cases were disposed off. Thus, there seems to be significant pendency of oppositions that has multiplied over the years.

Details Of Opposition/Rectification Applications filed at various Offices from 1st April 2021 to 31st March 2022 and their disposal (final decision) is set out below:

From the above it would seem, Delhi is the busiest office in terms of opposition cases.

To sum up

The growth in filing numbers for all IPs shows vibrancy in the Indian IP environment. The recent initiatives by the government, such as ‘Make in India’ and IP facilitation for MSMEs, to focus on innovation are yielding results by an increase in domestic patent filings. The focus on IP is also reflected in India’s ranking in the Global Innovation Index (GII), going up from 81st in 2015 to 40th in 2022 out of 132 economies. However, speedy resolution of the IP disputes has been a concern of the stakeholders considering the pendency of opposition matters at the Trademarks Registry and Patent Office and the time it takes for a final decision.

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