Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: Highlighting the “special care” given to expedite examination of patents filed by MSMEs, women entrepreneurs, and startups, Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (CGPDT) informed the Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal about a four-fold increase in patent and trademark registrations in the past five years. According to a statement by the commerce ministry, CGPDT officials in a review meeting with Goyal over the reforms introduced in examining and granting of patents, designs, copyrights, and trademarks said the number of patents granted has increased from 6,326 in 2015-16 to 28,391 in 2020-21, while trademark registration has shot up from 65,045 in 2015-16 to 2,55,993 in 2020-21. Further, 4,505 copyrights were granted in 2015-16 that increased to 16,402 during FY21.
The officials briefed the minister over how the IP process has been simplified and streamlined along with new timelines for disposal of applications and shift to digital mode to promote ease of filing and obtaining services. For example, under Trade Mark Rules 74 Forms have been replaced by eight consolidated Forms. Goyal also, noting the 80 per cent reduction in patent filing fees for MSMEs, startups, and women entrepreneurs by the department to promote innovation, said with digital emphasis, every application is processed online from start to finish, and hearings are conducted on phones.
The minister suggested CGPDT for more efforts to increase awareness about the geographical indication (GI) tag and its significance. GI tags are used to indicate the geographical origin of the product and any unique quality or reputation it holds due to the origin. Goyal also asked officials to consider instituting scholarships for students studying Intellectual Property law and engage faculty from renowned institutions on a part-time basis to help in the patent examination process.
In order to expand and upgrade the network of Technology Centres (Tool Rooms and Technology Development Centres) in the country intended towards promoting innovation among MSMEs, the Ministry of MSME had launched the World Bank-assisted Technology Centre Systems Programme (TCSP) at an estimated Projected cost of Rs 2,200 crore last year. “It is expected that the network of TCs/ECs so created will also contribute to strengthen industry- academia linkages in the Country as well as support innovation through the modern facilities, advance technologies like incubation/AR/VR/AI, etc., provided in these Centres,” MSME Ministry had said in its FY21 annual report.