According to him, the government would bring down the time taken to examine applications from the current five-to-seven years to 18 months by March 2018.
Speaking at an event organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) on the occasion of International Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) day, Abhishek said applications for trademarks would be cleared within a month by March 2017. Such applications currently take 13 months to clear.
“We’ve appointed a panel of about 80 lawyers, who will provide free consultation and legal advise to start-ups. The rules will be notified soon.”
Applications were now being reviewed on a monthly, quarterly and yearly basis, he said.
According to figures released by Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, 237,000 patents and 544,000 trademark registrations are pending approval. Patent offices function under the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (CGPDT) under the commerce ministry.
Sitharaman said certain measures were underway to make the application process more transparent.
Sitharaman also said India continues to be placed on the US’ Priority Watch List on account of that country’s assessment of India’s IPR protection being inadequate.
India has countered for long that the report constitutes a unilateral measure to create pressure on countries to enhance IPR protection beyond the agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The TRIPS agreement sets down minimum standards for many forms of intellectual property regulations for World Trade Organization members.
India has said since under the WTO regime, any dispute between two countries needs to be referred to the dispute settlement body of WTO, such unilateral actions are not in the spirit of the rules. Sitharaman said the government would fully utilise everything under TRIPS to protect the domestic pharmaceutical sector from the pressure exerted by foreign countries.