In India, for the first time in the last 11 years, the number of domestic patent filing has surpassed the number of international patent filing at Indian patent office in the Quarter Jan-Mar 2022.
What does the data suggest?
- This means the total 19796 patent applications filed, 10706 were filed by Indian applicants against 9090 by non-Indian applicants. This is represented as under:
- Filing of patents have increased from 42763 in 2014-15 to 66440 in 2021-22, more than 50% increase in a span of 7 years
- Nearly five times increase in grant of patents in 2021-22 (30,074) as compared to 2014-15 (5978)
- Reduction in Time of patent examination from 72 months in December 2016 to 5-23 months at present, for different technological areas
- India’s ranking in Global Innovation Index has increased to 46th in 2021 (+35 ranks) as compared to from 81st in 2015-16.
What are ‘patents’?
- A patent represents a powerful intellectual property right, and is an exclusive monopoly granted by a government to an inventor for a limited, pre-specified time. It provides an enforceable legal right to prevent others from copying the invention. Patents can be either process patents or product patents.
- A product patent ensures that the rights to the final product is protected, and anyone other than the patent holder can be restrained from manufacturing it during a specified period, even if they were to use a different process.
- A process patent enables any person other than the patent holder to manufacture the patented product by modifying certain processes in the manufacturing exercise.
- India moved from product patenting to process patenting in the 1970s, which enabled India to become a significant producer of generic drugs at global scale, and allowed companies like Cipla to provide Africa with anti-HIV drugs in the 1990s. But due to obligations arising out of the TRIPS Agreement, India had to amend the Patents Act in 2005, and switch to a product patents regime across the pharma, chemicals, and biotech sectors.
India’s IPR Policy 2016 –
- The Policy allows compulsory licensing with restrictions in case of a public health emergency such as epidemics and it is compliant with the World Trade Organisation’s guidelines.
- The policy seeks to put in place a legal framework that will encourage the IPR regime and reduce the time taken by the government to approve a trademark to a month by 2017. Currently, the process takes more than a year.
- The policy makes the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) the nodal agency for regulating IP rights in the country.
- The Policy states “India shall remain committed to the (World Trade Organisation’s) Doha Declaration on Trade Related IPR Agreement (TRIPS) and Public Health.”
- It also says “India will continue to utilise the legislative space and flexibilities available in international treaties and the TRIPS Agreement.” These flexibilities include the sovereign right of countries to use provisions such as Section 3(d) and CLs for ensuring the availability of essential and life-saving drugs at affordable prices.
- To ensure strong and effective IPR laws, the Policy states India will engage constructively in the negotiation of international treaties and agreements in consultation with stakeholders.