IP Office Annual Report 2021-2022: Highlights (Patents and Designs)
The Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs, Trade Marks and Copyrights of India (IP Office) has recently released its Annual Report for the year 2021‒22 (hereinafter referred to as the “reporting year”).The highlights of the Annual Report (set out below) reflect the accomplishments of the IP Office during the aforementioned period, specifically in the domain of patents and designs.
The report suggests that, particularly with respect to patents, India witnessed an increase of about 13.57% in the reporting year in filing of patent applications as compared to the previous year 2020-2021. Moreover, there has been an upwards trend in filing of patents and designs applications in the past five years, data of which is tabulated as follows:
Amidst the overall filings of patent applications, domestic filings in India constituted 44.41% as compared to 41.58% in 2020-21. During the year, filing of applications in almost every field of inventions has shown a modest to high growth, especially in the fields of Computer Science & Electronics, Communication, Mechanical and Electrical (major fields of inventions). An analysis of the number of patent applications filed in the major fields of inventions in the past five years demonstrates an upward trend, data for which is graphically represented as below:
It is pertinent to mention that Tata Consultancy Services Limited acquired the position of being the top filer amongst the domestic patent applicants in the reporting year. Moreover, in order to invigorate educational institutions to contribute to the IP ecosystem more effectively, the Patents Rules, 2003 were amended on September 21, 2021 to reduce official fees payable by educational institutions for patent filing and prosecution by 80%. Initiatives of this nature undertaken by the government resulted in educational institutions including Lovely Professional University, Chandigarh University and Sanskriti University being amongst the top 5 domestic patent applicants for the reporting year.
In terms of foreign applications, the majority of foreign applications were filed through the PCT National Phase route. The number of such applications filed during the reporting year saw an increase of about 9.31% as compared to the previous year figure.
However, the total number of applications filed claiming priority under the Paris Convention during the reporting year was 3212 as compared to the figure of 3382 in the previous year. This shows a decrease of 5.03% in the number of convention applications filed during the year. The trend of convention applications in the last 10 years is represented as follows:
Moreover, the United States of America emerged as the top filing country in filing patent applications in India. The country wise-breakup is provided below:
Further, amongst the foreign applicants for the reporting year, Qualcomm Incorporated secured the first place with more than one thousand six hundred applications filed in the stipulated period. Other top foreign applicants included Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. Microsoft Technology Licensing LLC, Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (PUBL), Apple Inc. etc.
Amongst domestic applicants, TVS Motor Company Limited, Council of Scientific & Industrial Research, Indian Institute of Technology (Collectively) were the major Indian contributors towards filing of PCT international applications during 2021-22. The list of top 10 PCT filings by Indian applicants is provided as follows:
Furthermore, several initiatives have been taken by the Patent Office in the reporting year to streamline the process system for patent officers. These include but are not limited to:
● Application allotment process has been modified to distribute workload evenly among officers.
● Work from Home: during the COVID-19 pandemic restricted period, all officers have been given secure virtual private network (VPN) connection to access the examination module and related resources remotely.
● E-sign facility has been introduced in Patent Office in addition to the existing facility of digital signature.
It is also pertinent to highlight that owing to the advancements made by the government to augment the domestic patent ecosystem, for the first time in a quarter (Q4 of 2021-22) in the last two decades, the patent applications filed by nationals have surpassed the patent applications filed by foreigners in India. Moreover, despite the Covid-19 restrictions, the average pendency of
patent applications at first examination level has been reduced to less than 12 months from the date of request of filing of request for examination (RQ) in all fields of technology.
In terms of the oppositions pertaining to the validity of patents, around 481 pre-grant oppositions were received by the Office and 275 pre-grant oppositions were disposed of during the reporting year. Further, over 37 post-grant oppositions were filed during the reporting year and 8 post-grant oppositions were disposed of.
Furthermore, the report suggests that over 66 applications for restoration of patents were received during the reporting year and 58 patents were restored accordingly.
In reference to compulsory license, while 2 applications for grant of compulsory licenses were filed in the reporting year, data pertaining to the status of the same has not been provided in the report.
With respect to working of patents (under Section 146), 55014 statements on working of patents were received in Form 27 during the reporting year and 9616 patents were reported as working. The details of information received during last five years are provided as follows:
In the year 2021, vide the Designs (Amendment) Rules, 2021, a new category of entity i.e., ‘Startup’. was included under the Designs Ecosystem. The same in case of an Indian entity is recognized as so by the competent authority under Startup India Initiative and in case of a foreign applicant, an entity fulfilling the criteria for turnover and period of incorporation or registration as per Startup India Initiative and submitting declaration to that effect. This latest category is in addition to the already existing categories of ‘Natural person(s)’, ‘Small Entity (ies)’ and ‘Others, alone or with natural person(s) and/ or Startup(s) and/ or Small entity (ies)’. Moreover vide the aforementioned amendment to the Design Rules, sub-rule (1) under rule 10 has been substituted and articles for the purpose of the registration of designs are being classified as per current edition of ‘International Classification for Industrial Designs (Locarno Classification) published by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)’. During the reporting year, 153 claims were raised by the facilitators for reimbursement of facilitator fees towards filing and/or registration of the Design Applications, out of which 132 claims were settled whereas 03 numbers of requests were refused.
It is pertinent to highlight that out of a total of 15262 designs registered in the reporting year, the numbers of registrations originating from India were 11936 whereas 3326 numbers of registrations were of foreign origin.
Among the domestic applications, a maximum number of design applications were filed under Class 02 (Articles of clothing & haberdashery). On the other hand, a maximum number of foreign applications were filed in Class 14 (Recording, communication or information retrieval equipment). In the reporting year, 83% of the overall design applications were found to be originating from India. This is a testament to India’s growth in innovation of industrial designs. The graphic representation of the trend of filing of design applications and its registration by origin is depicted below.
The leading Indian applicants for the reporting year included Chitkara Innovation Incubator Foundation (367), Sabyasachi Calcutta LLP (269), Michael Aram India Private Limited (267), Shoolini University of Biotechnology and Management Sciences (203), Havells India Limited (173), Relaxo Footwears Limited (160), Sharda University (160), Masroor Kutbullah Khan (135), Aulyra Design Private Limited (91), Harpreet Narula (89) and Fabindia Overseas Private Limited (89), etc.
With respect to the applications originating from abroad, the United States of America secured the first place followed by China, Japan and Germany. Moreover, the leading Foreign applicants filing design applications were Koninklijke Philips N.V. (218), HTL Furniture (China) Co. Ltd. (192), Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (104), Kohler Co. (97), Bejing Xiaomi Mobile Software Co. Ltd. (71), Cai Zhengao (69), Parry Murray & Co. Ltd. (59), The Gillette Company LLLC. (50), Unilever Global IP Limited (44), Guangdong Oppo Mobile Telecommunications Corp. Ltd. (38) etc.
Cumulatively, the numbers of registered designs in force at the end of the reporting year were 99807.
The full report can be accessed here: https://www.ipindia.gov.in/annual-reports-ipo.htm