General Assemblies of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has  endorsed India’s recognition as an International Searching Authority (ISA) and an International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA)

The Indian Patent Office has been recognised as the International Searching Authority (ISA) and International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) consisting of more than 170 member countries.

Shri Kamal Nath, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry said that the recognition of India as an ISA/IPEA puts India in a coveted league of only 15 nations and organization which are currently recognized at a global level by ISA/APEA.

The status of ISA and IPEA would be beneficial for India in several ways. Apart from the international recognition that our IP system would get, it would also generate revenues in the form of fees that would be provided to us for functioning as an ISA/IPEA. India being the only English speaking nation in the Asian region to be recognized as an ISA/IPEA would mean that several international applications received by WIPO under the Patents Cooperation Treaty would be sent to the Indian Patent Offices for search and preliminary examination purposes.

E-filing facilities for patents and trade marks applications was launched in July this year. In the last 3 years, several important milestones have been achieved in the field of Intellectual Property rights in India. The Patent Act was amended in 2005 in order to meet our international obligations. A Rs.153 crore modernization programme for augmenting the infrastructure and human resources in Intellectual Property Office, creation of awareness regarding IPRs and introducing IT enabled efficient systems was completed on 31 March 2007.

The Foundation Stone for a National Institute of Intellectual Property Management was laid in August, 2007 at Nagpur. The Institute is expected to be of global standards and would cater to training, research, education and would serve as an IP think-tank. A Rs.20 crore project has been approved for this purpose. The Institute is expected to be operational by the end of next year. The impact of the modernization programme is already self-evident. In the last 3 years, the number of patent applications have gone up three-fold and more importantly, the patents granted by four-folds. Similarly, there has been a steady increase in the number of trademarks applications being filed. The revenues generated by the Intellectual Property Offices gone up eight-fold in the last 3 years. This is 10 times more than the expenditure on these offices.

The registration of trademarks per annum, which is close to 1 lakh, has kept a pace with the filing. In a major effort to clear the backlog of patent and trademark applications, a total of 44,000 patent applications and more than 4.5 lakh trademark applications were cleared. A major effort is under way to digitize the patent and trademark records. Our effort is to digitize all records pertaining to 2 lakh plus patent and 6 lakh plus trademarks that have been granted so far. This exercise is  expected to be completed by the end of 2008.

The Government of India had announced the National Design Policy earlier this year, which envisages the strengthening of design infrastructure in the country as well as the spread of design education. The Government of India has taken a decision to accede to the Madrid Protocol – an international system for registration of trademarks. Accession to the Madrid Protocol would given the Indian business community an opportunity to register their trade marks through a single application in as many as 80 countries.

A proposal to modernize is proposed to be implemented during the 11th Plan period. Under this proposal Rs.300 crores is allotted for modernizing  the existing infrastructure, establish a state-of-the-art of Trade Marks Office at Ahmedabad, procure international databases, establish online processing of IP applications, manifold increase in human resources particularly of patent and trademark examiners, launch a massive awareness campaign and sensitization programme which would cover all major stakeholders including industry, academia, judiciary, enforcement agencies, policy makers and State Governments.