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Employee scarcity 70,000 patent applications pending
si Team
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
With a stockpile of applications pending in the country for examination, the government has decided to recruit more examiners to expedite the process of patent scrutiny and its disposal. According to the Controller General of Patents, P H Kurian, due to the shortage of examiners, over 70,000 patent applications are in the pipeline for examination and the process may need at least 3-4 years for approval under the Intellectual Property Rights Act.

The current capacity of the set-up is to process 15,000 applications per annum, while 70,000 are in the pipeline for examination. Kurian added, "Currently, we have only 150 officers but it is also not possible to increase the manpower overnight." The problem is being addressed and might be resolved by 2012-13. There is a need for at least 260 people in patent offices to examine applications and various other processes.

Kurian also informed that since 2005, about 13,000 patents pertaining to chemicals and pharmaceuticals alone have been issued. The increased growth of patent filing in India is due to timely amendments of the Patents Act of 1970. Since 1995, after India signed the WTO, there were sweeping changes in the IP administration and legislation, which culminated in the introduction of the product patent regime in 2005.

However, Kurian said that the law enforcement on piracy in the states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala are stricter in the country. "The law is even stricter than other developed countries. In the U.S., only the Federal Police is empowered to take action in piracy related cases but in India, the police is empowered not only to take action, but also preventive detections in piracy cases," he said.

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