Recently, Dr. S. Jagathrakshakan, Minister of State for Commerce & Industry filed a written reply which contained statistics of applicants filed for patents and the patents that were actually granted in India. This was released by the Press Information Bureau and was brought to our knowledge by a friend and well wisher of SpicyIP , Mr. Shiwprasad Wanve.
The PIB release tabulates the patent applications filed in medicines by Indian legal entities including companies, Research and Development Institutions & Academic Institutions from 2009 to January 2013. A varying trend can be observed with the total number of applications filed dipping in 2010- 2011 to 365 from a 581 in 2009- 2010. It increased in 2011- 2012 to 814 but fell to a 649 in 2012- 2013. However, in all the years Mumbai has had the highest number of patent applications filed with Delhi in second place in 2009-2011 and Chennai from 2011-2013. Kolkata has consistently had the least number of patent applications filed.
When we contrast this with the number of patents actually granted, a decreasing trend can be observed from 75 in 2009- 2010 to 41 in 2012-2013. However, when a state-wise analysis is done, it is seen that there is not much of a difference between the number of patents granted in Mumbai and Delhi. In fact, in 2010-2011, the number of patent applications filed in Mumbai was 152 while the number from Delhi was 121. The number of patents granted in Mumbai was 24 while the number granted in Delhi was 40. However, even in the years from 2011-2013, when the number of patents filed in Delhi was less than both Chennai and Mumbai, it is seen that the difference in the number of patents granted in Mumbai and Delhi was marginal. On the other hand, the number of patents granted in Chennai where there were 214 applications in 2011-2012 was only 1. No patents have been granted in Kolkata 2011 onwards.
The PIB release also deals with the issue of pending patent applications. Sec. 11B of the Patents Act, 1970 which deals with request for examination of patent applications. Sec 11B stipulates that requests for examination must be made in the prescribed manner within the prescribed period. The pendency of patent applications is dependent on the pendency of requests for examination of the patent applications. As on 31 January 2013 there are 370 pending requests for examination in Delhi, 290 in Mumbai, 247 in Chennai and 48 in Kolkata.
The Minister of State has sought to justify the delay in grant of patents. He clarifies that there are several stages to the granting of patents which includes the publication of the initial application, filing a request for examination of the application, the actual examination of the application and the disposal of any opposition that may arise at such stage. This quasi-judicial process coupled with the increase in filing of patent applications in India and the shortage of patent examiners are according to the Minister of State, the reason for the delay. While these are valid reasons raised by the Minister of State, it appears that there do exists solutions for the same. The shortage in patent examiners and other resources compared to an increasing number of filed patent applications can be remedied if more resources were sanctioned to the Patent Office by the Government. A cost- benefit analysis would support this solution considering the amount of revenue that is generated by patents.
The PIB release also look at the patent application filed by Indians through PCT as well in India. As far as the PCT is concerned, the most number of applications were filed in 2010- 2011 when 871 application were filed followed by 2011- 2012 when 773 applications were filed. The least was in 2012-2013 when only 646 applications were filed. In India, on the contrary, the highest percentage of patent applications filed by Indians was in 2012- 2013 when 21.75% was filed by Indian Residents. The least was in 2009- 2010 when 20.54% was filed by Indian residents.
These statistics are extremely helpful to those studying or who are generally interested in the Indian patent scene to understand the trajectory in which it is moving.