Around 1.04 lakh patent applications in India were pending for examination with the country’s various patent offices at the end of June this year, down 49 per cent from around 2.04 lakh at the end of the 2016-17 financial year, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal told Parliament on Friday.
Currently, the Delhi patent office — with nearly 14,000, or 37.58 per cent — has the highest number of patent applications awaiting examination. This is followed by the Chennai patent office with 36,336 (around 35 per cent) such applications.
“The pendency in patent applications in the past … has been primarily due to vastly inadequate strength of examiners and controllers in the patent offices,” stated the minister in a written response to a query on whether a “number” of patent applications were pending for approval. “The multi-pronged approach of legislative and administrative measures undertaken has resulted in an increasing trend in disposal of patent applications,” he added.
The government measures pendency of patent applications in terms of the number of applications pending for examination, he added. Data given by the minister to the Rajya Sabha also shows that the number of patent applications received and patents granted each year has also slowly been on the rise.
According to the minister, 15,284 patents were granted in 2018-19 compared to 9,847 patents in 2016-17 — an over 50 per cent increase. As of June 30 this year, more than 4,500 patents have been granted.
Around 2,515 (14.60 per cent) of 17,221 patent applications filed in 2018-19 were granted in that period, compared to around 1,311 (9.92 per cent) patents out of 13,219 applications being granted in 2016-17, shows the data submitted by Goyal on Friday.
It is not clear whether the remaining patent applications were disposed at the end of each financial year or are currently in the tally of pending applications that need to be examined.
The government has taken “various” measures to clear pending applications, the minister said. This includes increasing manpower “manifold” by creating new posts, amending the patent rules in 2016 to simplify procedures for disposal of patent applications and implementing various information technology and automation interventions to optimise the “speed and quality” of examinations.
In 2013-14, over 18,000 patents were examined and 4,225 patents were granted, an earlier statement in the Parliament by then commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman in July 2014 shows.