PM-EAC for patent system rejig to fast track grants

New Delhi: The Economic Advisory Council to PM (EAC-PM) has suggested hiring more patent officers and fixing six months as the period within which the validity of a pending patent application can be challenged.

These measures, the EAC-PM said in its presentation to stakeholder ministries, including the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) and the NITI Aayog, will help fast-track the process of granting patents and also generate substantial revenue for the government.

India does not have any timeline for pre-grant opposition. This, coupled with shortage of patent officers, stretches the processing time for granting a patent in India to as much as 58 months, in some cases. In contrast, the processing time is 20 months in both China and the US and 15 months in Japan.

“India is fast emerging as a knowledge-based economy. This requires a competent intellectual property framework with a faster processing time,” Sanjeev Sanyal, member of EAC-PM, told ET.

According to Sanyal, a revamped patenting system should focus on timelines, simplified procedures, scaling up of manpower, and adopting artificial intelligence to become globally competitive.

PM-EAC for Patent System Rejig to Fast-track GrantsAgencies

The EAC-PM said there is a need to clear the 160,000 pending patent applications at the earliest, which would also generate huge revenue for the government.

In 2021, India granted 30,074 patents from a pool of 66,000 applications, generating revenue of Rs 1,000 crore. The same year, the US granted 350,000 patents and China 530,000.

The EAC-PM said that though there have been improvements in India’s patenting regime over the last few years, the country is still far behind some other nations in the processing of applications, and this often prompts even domestic players to seek patents elsewhere.

However, introduction of a timeline for pre-grant opposition will require the DPIIT to tweak the patenting rules.

India has only 858 patent officers. Although it’s a jump from 280 in 2016, it is still miniscule compared with 13,700 in China and 8,130 in the US.

India has also seen a surge in domestic applications, with 44% of them coming from Indian entrepreneurs in 2021 compared with 29% in 2016-17, while the rate of withdrawal of applications has reduced to 38% in 2022 compared with 66% in 2018, primarily due to delay in granting patents.

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