National Institute of Intellectual Property Mgmt, Delhi

The number of trademarks awarded by the India’s Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trade Marks has jumped threefold this financial year, according to data obtained from the Patent Office.

A total of 2.11 lakh trademarks were registered in India in the first eleven months of the year beginning April 2016, compared to just 65,045 in the whole of the previous year and only 41,853 in 2014-15.

The huge increase in the number of registrations was the result of strict directions from the commerce ministry to reduce the pendency of applications while increasing staff strength, promoting the use of technology and cutting red tape.

Over 2 lakh trademark requests are made with the office every year, but less than half of them are disposed of — whether through approval or rejection — during the year.

By March last year, the total number of applications pending at various stages had risen to nearly 8 lakh, threatening to derail the various government schemes such as ‘Make in India’, ‘Start Up India’ and so on.

“The main reason was lack of manpower. There simply wasn’t enough staff,” said an official with the Delhi Patent Office.

With an increase in staff strength this year, a total of 5.1 lakh applications were examined in the first eleven months, nearly double the 2.67 lakh examined in the whole of last year and three times the 1.68 lakh scrutinized in the preceding year. The amount of time taken to examine an application has also been brought down to less than one month from 13 months.

In addition to increasing the number of examiners, the Patent Office also expanded its online operations for filing of applications to cut down paperwork and offered a 10% discount for e-filing.

Instead of sending certificates by post, the Patent Office now emails the registration and renewal certificates.

Some amount of ‘sensitization’ was also carried out among examiners, which not only hastened the whole process but also resulted in lower rejection rates.

Out of the 5.10 lakh examined so far this year, 2.1 lakh applications were approved while nearly 34,000 were rejected.

This year, the rejection rate has been only around 13% — the lowest in recent years. It was nearly 30% last year.

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