Recent Achievements And Improvements in India’s Intellectual Property
India’s Intellectual Property environment has experienced some commendable changes. These changes are attributed to some of the new policies made, reforms introduced, and actions taken by the Policymakers.
Some of these key actions and policies include the following:
- India’s accession to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Internet Treaties.
- India’s agreement to initiate a Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) with Japan.
- New set of Intellectual Property Incentives for small businesses.
- Administrative reforms targeted at reducing the backlog of patent applications.
Result of these Efforts at the International Level
These current efforts have not gone unnoticed, and they have yielded tremendous improvements at the international level. One of such evident improvement is the new ranking which India now holds in the US Chamber of Commerce International Intellectual Property rankings.
The United States’ Chamber of Commerce recently released its Annual International IP Index, and India ranks 36 out of 50 countries, as opposed to the 44th place it held in the 2018 International Intellectual Property Index ranking. Obviously, the country has climbed eight places from its previous position.
In its report, the US Chamber of Commerce described this move as a ‘real accomplishment’. The report also observed that among major global economies, India’s move from 44th place to 36th place is the most substantial movement on the IP index rankings, as the movement surged at almost 20 percent and climbed eight places. In the words of the report, “most substantial movement can be seen from India, which has surged almost 20 percent and climbed eight places in the IP Index rankings from 44th to 36th”.
The report also observed that this recent improvement is attributed to some of the noteworthy steps taken by India to improve its IP system in 2018. The report also observed that the move made by India by the September 2018 accession to the WIPO Internet Treaties, and the agreement with Japanese Patent Office on a Pilot PPH, are notable achievements which remarkably stand out. These specific efforts greatly align and incorporate India’s IP system with the international IP system.
The US Chambers’ Global Innovation Policy Centre (GIPC) commended the efforts by India, and stated that “…this improvement is a real accomplishment, and Indian policy makers should be congratulated on their successful efforts in 2018”.
According to the GIPC Senior Vice President, Patrick Kilbride, “For the second year in a row, India’s score represents the largest gain of any country measured on the Index which covers over 90 percent of global gross domestic product.”
India’s Progression Over the Years
In the first edition of the US Chamber of Commerce International IP Index rankings, India ranked 25 out of the 25 countries on the list. In the 2017 US International IP Index, when more countries were added to the list to make the total number of countries 45, India ranked 43 out of the 45 countries. Five countries were subsequently added to make the total number of 50 countries for the 2018 ranking, and India ranked 44 out 50. Now, in the 2019 ranking, this tremendous shift to 36 out of 50 speaks volumes on the efforts put in by the policy makers.
It is obvious from these numbers that there has been a commendable progression from 2014 – 2018.
Also, looking at the points recorded for some of the global economies on the list, like US (scoring 42.66 out of 45), UK (scoring 42.22 out of 45), Sweden (scoring 41.04 out of 45), Germany (scoring 41.00 out of 45), China (scoring 21.45 out of 45), India’s 16.22 points speaks of the potentials the country has to measure up at the global IP level.
What does this New Improvement Mean for India?
Apart from the international recognition, Patrick Kilbride’s statement holds true of the great possibility these steps hold for India. According to him, “As the World’s fastest growing major economy undertakes steps to improve its innovation ecosystem, it can empower the next generation of Indian innovators, unleash the creation of 21st century content, and transition itself into a true knowledge-based economy.”
And in the words of the President and CEO of GIPC, David Hirschmann, “When innovators succeed, countries succeed. Governments with strong IP systems foster greater innovation and creativity and position themselves to better compete at the highest level for global investment, talent and growth”.
There are still lots of reforms to be made and steps to be taken towards achieving the dream IP system for India.
As the US Chambers of Commerce observed, “substantial challenges persist, particularly regarding the country’s patenting and IP enforcement environments”.
Kilbride also added, “Of course, there remain important issues that require additional, meaningful reforms, and we hope that India will use the Index as a guide as it moves forward. The global economy benefits when India thrives”.
Thankfully, efforts are still being actively made to achieve greater improvements in the system. Resources, including extra man power, have been invested into improving the administrative capacities of the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (CGPDTM).
Efforts are also being made to decongest the backlog of application of applications. So far, out of the pending patent applications, which were over 200,000 in March 2017, over 50,000 of these applications have been handled, and as at June 2018, the pending applications decreased to just over 155,000.