OMG! Over 2.26 lakh patent applications pending with Patent offices in India for approval…Why? Shortage of professionals says Commerce and Industry Minister!

In worrying statistics, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, as reported in a news article dated 31st July 2015, informed parliament in a written reply to the Lok Sabha that as many as 2, 26, 339 patent applications are pending for approval with various Patent offices in India due to shortage of professionals. She also said that pending requests of examinations that are awaiting disposal at different stages of processing in patent offices are used to measure the pendency of the application. Therefore numbers of pending patent applications must be much higher than the reported figures.

Based on statistics provided, the Delhi patent office tops the list with 83,291 pending requests of examinations. Mumbai patent office is having the least number of pending cases at 28,100. Chennai and Kolkata patent offices are the second and third with 74,390 and 40,558 pending cases for disposal.

A look at Dynamic utility to view ‘Month of Request for Examination for which FER is being issued, (can be accessed at http://ipindiaservices.gov.in/rqstatus/) reveals the following statistics:

For the Electrical/Electronics group, the Delhi patent office is issuing the FERs for July 2009, while the other three patent offices are issuing FERs for the year 2010 with the Mumbai patent office being ahead of others issuing FERs for October 2010. For the Biotechnology group, the Chennai patent office, which is issuing the FERs for February 2012, is ahead of the pack with the Kolkata patent office lying at the bottom of the table issuing FERs for March 2010. For the Chemistry group, the Mumbai patent office is ahead of others by issuing FERs for June 2012 with the Chennai patent office at the bottom by issuing FERs for October 2010. For the Mechanical, Kolkata patent office is issuing FERs for February 2009 and is the only patent office issuing FERs for the year 2009, and the Delhi patent office is ahead of the rest with issuing FERs for December 2011.

While explaining the efforts taken by the government to clear the pendency, Nirmala Sitharaman said that the government has approved additional 252 posts of examiners and 76 posts of controllers. This will increase the total sanctioned strength of examiners and controllers to 589 and 170 respectively. She further informed of steps taken by the government by sanctioning 263 posts of contract examiners of patents as a short-time measure.

For those who are looking for an opportunity to work with Indian Patent Office as an examiner, applications can be filed online, starting date was July 25th, 2015 and the last date of application is August 24th, 2015. Further details regarding advertisement and instructions for filing an online application can be obtained at http://recruitmentnpc.in/.

About the Author: Swapnil Patil, Patent Associate at Khurana & Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorneys and can be reached at swapnil@khuranaandkhurana.com

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