Timely protection is crucial for the effective enforcement of patents. Has India’s interminably slow issuing system finally received a jolt of speed? Renju Harikumar investigates

In today’s product-driven world, where technology is rapidly evolving, it’s critical that innovators get the right intellectual property (IP) protection, mainly patent protection for technology innovations, as quickly as possible. In India, however, inventors and patent applicants have often faced inordinate delays in getting their patents granted by the Indian Patent Office.

Although this issue has been discussed and debated by various IP organizations, companies and government officials for many years, no far-reaching decisions have been made to address the problem. According to a submission by the Patent Office in 2016, there were about 200,000 pending patent applications.

The delay was mainly attributed to the lack of capable resources to handle patent examinations and related procedures. Although this is a long-pending issue, things are taking a turn for the better with new, improved and effective reforms happening in the procedure for granting patents.

The Indian Patent Office has taken some firm steps to rid itself of the negative image it has acquired in the past in relation to the patent pendency. It is encouraging to note that some of the strategic decisions and investments that the Indian Patent Office had made in the recent past have started paying off.

Last month, there was a lot of media coverage around the news of a patent being issued in India in a record 113 days’ time, whereas until recently the same task would have taken about five to seven years. This is certainly a positive development and this trend will continue as various recent initiatives taken by the Patent Office start to bear fruit.

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Renju Harikumar is the vice president responsible for intellectual property at Accenture.

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