The Indian Patent Office received 1,000 applications electronically – about 3 per cent of the country's total filing of patent applications – in less than a year of receipt of the first application filed electronically on 13 July 2007.

India launched a facility for online filing of patents and trademarks application oh 20 July 2007 and the first application of patent was filed on 13 August 2007 and the 1,000th on 24 July 2008.

The Patent Office has targeted 97 per cent e-filing in a couple of years. The revenue received through online payment gateway for applications filed online was approximately Rs2.54 crore. E-filing provision is also available for filing new TMR applications and TMR search. Facility for filing other intellectual property applications also electronically will be created soon.

Meanwhile, patent filings worldwide has increased manifold driven by increased filings in China, the Republic of Korea and the United States.The number of patent filing worldwide topped 1.76 million in 2006, representing a 4.9 per cent increase over 2005, according to the 2008 edition of the World Patent Report of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

The report, based on 2006 figures (the last year for which complete worldwide statistics are available) also shows that patents granted worldwide increased by 18 percent with some 727,000 patents granted in 2006 alone. The substantial increase in patents granted is due, in part, to efforts by patent offices to reduce backlogs as well as the substantial increase in the number of patents granted by China and Republic of Korea.

According to the statistics, the total number of patents in force worldwide at the end of 2006 was approximately 6.1 million. The report also pointed to growing tendency for filing patent applications in multiple countries, showing an increasing internationalisation of patent activity following the the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and in non-resident patent filings.

The number of international patent filings submitted through the PCT in 2007 was estimated at 158,400, representing a 5.9 per cent increase over the previous year. The US was the largest user of the PCT system, a multilateral agreement administered by WIPO which provides a simplified method for international patent filing. In 2006, 33.6 per cent of all PCT filings originated from the US, almost twice that of the next largest user, Japan, which accounted for 17.5 per cent of all PCT filings.

The proportion of worldwide patent filings by non-residents increased from 35.7 per cent in 1995 to 43.6 per cent in 2006. In addition, between 2005 and 2006, total non-resident patent filings increased by 7.4 per cent, in contrast to total resident filings which increased by 3.1 per cent. Non-resident filings originating from US applicants accounted for 21.9 per cent of the total non-resident filings, followed by Japan with 21.7 per cent and Germany with 10.8 per cent.

The combined share of worldwide non-resident patent filings by the eight largest countries of origin (US, Japan, Germany, South Korea, France, the Netherlands, UK and Switzerland) increased from 66 per cent to 74 per cent between 2000 and 2006.

 The share of non-resident patent filings was very high in the patent offices of Hong Kong (SAR) China, Israel, Mexico and Singapore – where more than 90 per cent of total filings are submitted by non-resident applicants.

Patenting activity in emerging countries also increased in 2006. The patent offices of India (24,505), Brazil (24,505) and Mexico (15,505) all received a large number of filings in 2006. For the majority of the reported emerging countries, non-resident applicants accounted for the largest share of total filings in these countries.

The share of total worldwide patent applications submitted by applicants from the top 10 countries of origin (in which applicants reside) increased from 82.4 per cent in 2000 to 85.2 per cent in 2006. Applicants from Japan (514,047), the US (390,815), South Korea (172,709), Germany (130,806) and China (128,850) accounted for 76 per cent of the total number of patent applications filed worldwide in 2006.

Significant growth in the number of patent applications filed domestically fuelled China's share of total worldwide patent filings which rose from 1.8 per cent to 7.3 per cent during the period 2000-2006. Between 2005 and 2006, the total number of patent applications filed worldwide by applicants from China, South Korea and the US increased by 32.1 per cent, 6.6 per cent and 6.7 per cent respectively.

In terms of offices, in 2006, for the first time since 1963, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) received the largest number of patent applications (425,966), followed by the Japan Patent Office (408,674). The patent offices of China (210,501), South Korea (166,189), and the European Patent Office (135,231) also received a large number of filings.

 The period 2000-2006, also saw a significant increase in the number of filings originating from Australia, China, India and South Korea. The average annual growth rate in patent filings for these countries was far above that of all reported countries in Europe and North America. Japan, the UK and Sweden experienced modest growth in patent filings (less than 1 per cent a year).

The growth in the number of patent applications filed across the world has, however, not kept pace with other economic indicators such as gross domestic product (GDP) and trade, the report said. The volume of patent filing has been in tune with the expenditure on research and development (R&D), the report said, citing countries like the US, Japan, China, Germany, France, the UK and South Korea.

The bulk – some 73 per cent – of the 727,000 patents granted across the world in 2006 were concentrated in a small number of countries of origin – Japan, the US, South Korea and Germany.  Between 2000 and 2006, the number of patents granted to applicants from China and the South Korea grew by an annual average of 26.5 per cent and 23.2 per cent respectively.

Applicants from Japan (about 1.6 million) and the US (about 1.2 million) owned the bulk of the patents that were in force in 2006. Between 2004 and 2006, there was a significant increase in the number of such patents owned by applicants from Finland (85 per cent) and South Korea (47 per cent).

More than half of the patents in force in 2006 were filed during the period 1997-2003. Many patents are not maintained for the full term of 20 years from filing typically because the cost of maintaining the patent exceeds the economic return on the related product or service. Maintenance fees are payable at intervals throughout the life of the patent. Only a minority of patents are maintained for the full term.

In 2005 (the latest year for which technology data are available), the most intense patenting activity is evident in the following sectors: computer technology (144,594), telecommunications (116,770), and electrical machinery (121,350) technologies. Between 2001 and 2005, patent filings in computer technology, optics, and semiconductors grew by 5.3 per cent, 5.0 per cent and 4.9 per cent, a year, respectively. There was a modest increase in pharmaceuticals filings (1.7 per cent) and a decrease in biotechnology filings (-2.7 per cent).

Recent pressures on energy resources have boosted patenting activity in the energy sector, in particular in relation to solar (thermal and photo) energy, fuel cells and wind energy. Applicants from Japan accounted for the largest number of applications in the fields of solar energy and fuel cells. Whereas, Germany and Japan were the top two countries of origin for wind energy technologies, the report pointed out. The number of patent applications pending examination at the USPTO rose to 1,051,502 in 2006. Similarly, in recent years the JPO has experienced a sharp rise in the number of pending applications with some 836,801 patent applications outstanding at the end of 2006.

Increased patent filings in North East Asian countries (mainly China and the South Korea and the US drove growth in worldwide filing of patent applications, which topped 1.76 million in 2006, representing a 4.9 per cent increase over 2005, according to the 2008 edition of the World Patent Report of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).