In its drive to catch up with China in the field of patents and trademarks, India will shortly launch a national awareness, sensitisation and consultancy programme by roping in universities, laboratories, state-level chambers of commerce and industry, patent attorneys and the scientific community.
According to sources in the commerce ministry: "The cost of this awareness campaign has been pegged at Rs 20 crore. This will establish a correlation between intellectual property, innovation, productivity and competitiveness. The campaign is aimed at promoting intellectual property and boost the proprietory rights culture in the country." According to the figures of World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), of the total 1.56-lakh applications for international patents it received, China came seventh with 5,456 applications. US topped the list with 52,280 applications, followed by Japan with 27,731. Compared to this, India’s applications were a paltry 686. In 2006, when China filed 3,951 applications, India filed just 831. The Indian Patent Office granted a record 15,262 patents during 2007-08, the government said, more than double the 7,539 granted the previous year (2006-07) and nearly eight times more than the 1,911 patents granted three years ago, in 2004-05.
Historically, the total number of patent filings by residents of India is just three per million population, against a world average of 250. According to the patent office figures, the number of patents granted in 2007-08, the first year of India’s 11th Five Year Plan, compares well with the total number awarded during the entire period of the 10th Five Year Plan, which was just 17,618. "The application for international petnts should go up substantially to cope up with other countries of the world. We have taken some initiative, but more needs to be done," said the commerce ministry sources. Incidentally, the government has spent more than Rs 140 crore in the first phase of the modernisation effort, which included setting up integrated intellectual-property offices in four major cities and launching electronic filing of applications.
Another Rs 400 crore is to be spent to establish a Trade Marks Registry and Intellectual Property Archives and allied activities. The government has also begun work on a National Institute of Intellectual Property Management to handle training, education, research and think-tank functions in intellectual-property rights.