With the Indian automotive industry increasingly adopting the latest technologies in recent years and also driving towards Atmanirbharta or self-reliance, the need for registration and protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) has become more important than ever. A recent event, organised by the Society of Automotive Engineers (India), industry stakeholders urged building of greater awareness on the subject to reap the benefits of intellectual innovations in the field.
According to Pankaj Borkar, Deputy Controller of Patents & Designs, Government of India, currently there is lack of awareness in the country about IP-related laws and rights. “Even the companies here are not active in promoting their technologies,” Borkar said during the panel discussion which was moderated by Sumantra Barooah, executive editor, Autocar Professional. Borkar, added that the government has in recent years taken several measures to create awareness and also smoothened the entire process of IP applications.
IPR is considered as an inevitable tool for today’s globalised economy to drive creativity and innovation and also protect the same. The Indian government is said to have taken several initiatives including Make in India, Startup India, Digital India and Skill India. There is also the Atal Innovation Mission to nurture innovative energies across the country in schools and universities. Under the IPR policy, the Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) has been tasked to facilitate creation and commercialisation of IP assets in collaboration with the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks.
As per the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a total of 34,015 patent filings were done in India during 2019. India currently ranks seventh globally, in the Global Patent Filing Index (GPFI). However, it is way behind countries such as China (around 1.5 million applications), the US (597,141) and Japan (313,567) applications.
Offering a perspective on the issue, Nilkanth Marathe, Senior Deputy Director, ARAI said, “The basic issue is that not many people understand what is patentable. If awareness is not created then the situation will never change”. According to Marathe, ARAI is developing a platform to bring all mobility stakeholders on it so that solutions and innovations can be discussed for the wider good of the sector.
According to Dr Pradheepram Ottikuti, Chief of Cummins Technical Centre in India (CTCI), his company’s global presence in R&D helps in sharing the technologies amongst its various centres. Citing an example, Ottikuti said similar technology sharing took place when Cummins (India) introduced BS VI emission products for India. “That helped us in India,” he added, stressing that the country can leverage technologies such as telematics, machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Ravindra Kharul, CTO at Tier-1 supplier Endurance Technologies highlighted the fact that OEMs are now driving suppliers to continuously innovate. “The important thing now is to collaborate and bring co-creation,” said Kharul adding that the company’s proving ground in Aurangabad has helped his company in accelerating the innovation process.
Patent facts from Ministry of Commerce and Industry
Patent Examination increased from 22,631 in 2014-15 to 800,088 by end of FY2019-20.
Time required for patent examination reduced from average 72 months in 2015 to 12-30 months at present, depending upon technology fields. This will be further reduced to about 12 months for all technology fields, by end of December 2020.
Grant of patents has increased from 5,978 in 2014-15 to 24,936 in FY2019-20.
It is expected that the time for final disposal of patent applications, which has reduced to average 48 months at present from a few years earlier, will be reduced to average 24-30 months from filing by end-2021.
Period of examination of new trademarks applications is reduced from 13 months to less than 30 days.
Trademarks are registered in about 6 months, if there is no objection or opposition filed, as compared to 3-5 years required earlier.
About 50% applications are accepted at first stage as against only 7% earlier.
11.62 lakh trademark registrations done in just four years (during 2016-17 to 2019-20) as compared to 11 lakh registrations during 75 Years (1940-2015).