The status of ISA and IPEA would be beneficial for India in several ways. Apart from the international recognition that our IP system would get, it would also generate revenues in the form of fees that would be provided to us for functioning as an ISA/IPEA. Being the only English speaking nation in the Asian region to be recognized as an ISA/IPEA would mean that several international applications received by WIPO under the Patents Cooperation Treaty would be sent to the Indian Patent Offices for search and preliminary examination purposes.
E-filing facilities for patents and trade marks applications was launched in July this year. In the last 3 years, several important milestones have been achieved in the field of Intellectual Property rights in India. The Patent Act was amended in 2005 in order to meet our international obligations. A Rs.153 crore modernization programme for augmenting the infrastructure and human resources in Intellectual Property Office, creation of awareness regarding IPRs and introducing IT enabled efficient systems was completed on 31 March 2007.
During the briefing, Shri Kamal Nath also informed that India has retained the Second place in A.T. Kearney’s 2007 Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index, a position it has held since displacing the US in 2005. “India continues to attract investors in the high value-added services industries like financial services and informed technology. India is the 2nd most preferred location for investors in Asia and USA. However, for European investors, India has claimed the top slot, displacing China”, he further informed.
Background on IP/Trademark/Design/GIs
The Foundation Stone for a National Institute of Intellectual Property Management was laid in August, 2007 at Nagpur. The Institute is expected to be of global standards and would cater to training, research, education and would serve as an IP think-tank. A Rs.20 crore project has been approved for this purpose. The Institute is expected to be operational by the end of next year. The impact of the modernization programme is already self-evident. In the last 3 years, the number of patent applications have gone up three-fold and more importantly, the patents granted by four-folds. Similarly, there has been a steady increase in the number of trademarks applications being filed. The revenues generated by the Intellectual Property Offices gone up eight-fold in the last 3 years. This is 10 times more than the expenditure on these offices.
The registration of trademarks per annum, which is close to 1 lakh, has kept a pace with the filing. In a major effort to clear the backlog of patent and trademark applications, a total of 44,000 patent applications and more than 4.5 lakh trademark applications were cleared. A major effort is under way to digitize the patent and trademark records. Our effort is to digitize all records pertaining to 2 lakh plus patent and 6 lakh plus trademarks that have been granted so far. This exercise is expected to be completed by the end of 2008.
The rising trend has also been witnessed in the area of industrial designs where a record number of over 5000 applications were received last year. In the area of geographical indications, as on date, 46 GIs have been registered and over 100 applications are in the pipeline. Some of the most important GIs registered are Darjeeling Tea, Chanderi Saree, Pochampalli Ikat and Kangara Tea.
Bearing in mind the significance of designs in the competitive economic scenario, the Government of India announced the National Design Policy earlier this year. This Policy envisages the strengthening of design infrastructure in the country as well as the spread of design education. Further, we intend to establish a design Council as well as undertake efforts to brand Indian designs. To establish 3 more Institutes of Designs in the Southern, Eastern and Northern region of the country on the pattern of the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. Given the premier character of the NID, Ahmedabad, we are proposed to give NID the status a deemed university.
The Government of India has taken a decision to accede to the Madrid Protocol – an international system for registration of trademarks. Accession to the Madrid Protocol would given the Indian business community an opportunity to register their trade marks through a single application in as many as 80 countries.
A more ambitious second phase of modernization at a cost of Rs.300 crores is proposed to be implemented during the 11th Plan period. Under this proposal, it is proposed to further augment the existing infrastructure, establish a state-of-the-art of Trade Marks Office at Ahmedabad, procure international databases, establish online processing of IP applications, manifold increase in human resources particularly of patent and trademark examiners, launch a massive awareness campaign and sensitization programme which would cover all major stakeholders including industry, academia, judiciary, enforcement agencies, policy makers and State Governments.