Commerce ministry gears up to level ‘mountain’ of pending technology patents
Facing criticism for high pendency of technology patents over the last 10 years, the Union ministry of commerce and industry has announced that it will take steps to expedite the application examination process.
Commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that besides hiring more manpower for the examination and certification process, the ministry will seek the help of developed countries to train them in this regard. “We will try and send some of them to Japan for training on best industry practices,” she added.
The first stage of examining a patent application currently takes anywhere between 48 and 60 months. Consequently, as many as 2.5 lakh patent and 7.5 lakh trademark applications are pending at various stages of examination.
“We will improve our performance to match international standards, reducing the waiting time to less than 18 months by 2018. It will be further reduced to 15 months in the years that follow,” the commerce minister said.
The office of the controller general of patents, designs & trademarks – which comes under the commerce ministry’s department of industries and promotions (DIPP) – has been facing manpower shortage for years now. “Earlier, we had just 130 professionals to carry out various patent examination-related functions. That was a highly insufficient number. We have now hired 430 more of them,” said Rajeev Aggarwal, joint secretary, ministry of commerce and industry.
The department is flooded with complaints related to pendency of technology patents as old as 10 years.
A letter written by SuKam Invertors and Solar Systems CMD Kunwer Sachdev to Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed that pending technology patents were hindering the Centre’s Make in India initiative. “Only a dozen of the 74 patents we applied for in the last 12 years have reached the first level of examination. And even that happened very recently, after several reminders and rigorous follow-ups,” it said.