After a long time, there is Good News for people waiting for the vacancies in the Indian Patent Office.
Finally, it has been confirmed that there is going to be a massive recruitment by the office of CGPDTM. The Government of India plans to hire around 1000 people on a permanent basis to build and enhance capacity.
The first time, this information was shared by the principal economic advisor to the government of India, Mr. Sanjeev Sanyal. Then Controller General of Patents & Designs (CGPDTM), Shri Unnat Pandit confirmed the same in an interview.
The Indian Patent system has been plagued by pendency for a very long time and that happened because of irregular and inadequate addition of manpower. There have been 3 recruitment in the last decade in 2012, 2016 & 2019 to ensure the speedy disposal of patent applications.
As a result of these hirings, there has been a significant improvement in backlog status. No wonder, India has climbed from 81st position in 2015 to 40th in 2022 in Global Innovation Index. Clearing backlog is not the only factor in spurring innovation in the country but the role of efforts made by the patent office can’t be denied.
Having said that, despite improvements, measures taken were not adequate.
But it seems the government has decided to up its game. Now, the government not only wants to get rid of the backlog but wants to be in the league of big players in the field of IP. For this, the government wants to address the root cause of the problem i.e. the lack of manpower.
Update: We have been proven correct in our analysis. The Indian Patent Office is going to hire 553 patent examiners in 2023: 553 Patent Examiners Recruitment 2023 | CGPDTM | QCI | HavingIP
Read on to know “why there will be more recruitment of patent examiners in the future” in addition to the recruitment of 2023 for 553 examiners of patents and designs.
The Hiring of Patent Examiners in the Indian Patent Office: around 1000 people to be recruited on a permanent basis by 2025-26
The Need for Recruitment
Over the period of years, one thing that everyone will agree upon is that the IP ecosystem is on the rise in the country. With that IP office also has to keep up.
For example, patent filings in 2016 were 45,444 and in 2021, this number reached 66,440. Then came an exciting jump of 25% in patent filings in 2022-23 and the number reached up to 82,809. If this jump continues for the next 5 years, we may see more than 2 lakh applications getting filed every year which is huge.
Moreover, the interesting part is that domestic filing has taken over international applicants. Earlier, most of the patent applications were by international firms which were just regularizing their foreign patents.
In that way, domestic applications signal the growing ecosystem of innovation in the country which is a piece of good news itself.
So, patent filings are on the rise but that’s just the first step of the patenting process. The real work of the IP office begins after that.
What is that the Indian Patent Office is doing to deal with a growing number of applications and backlog?
There were only 132 patent examiners in 2015 and that number has grown up to 773 in 2022. This resulted in reduced pendency from 1,67,402 in 2017 to around 17000 in 2022 at the Examiner level.
This means two things:
1. Now, India is one of the quickest when it comes to issuing the first examination report (FER) prepared by the Patent Examiner.
2. The pendency from the Examiner level has shifted to the next stage i.e. controller level.
In the Indian patent office, people are recruited at the level of Patent examiner and subsequently, they are promoted to the post of controller. So, the only way to boost the number of controllers in the patent office is to promote Examiners of Patents & Designs.
Having this in mind, 340 examiners have been promoted in April 2023 to the post of assistant controllers and such promotions will continue to add to the number of controllers.
Note: If you are wondering about the role and hierarchy of Examiners and Controllers then we recommend you go through the following two articles. We have covered everything you may have in your mind regarding your future in Indian Patent Office as a Group A Gazetted Officer.
So, now Patent Office stares at around 1.7 lakh applications pending at the controller level that needs to be dealt with at the earliest if India wants to compete with the developed world in innovation. This means the IP office needs more controllers.
Consider for example, where India stands in terms of professionals in the Patent Office. As per the last available data of 2020, China had around 13,704 and US had 8,132 people working in respective IP offices compared to 858 in India. When it comes to filing, the number of patent applications filed in China in 2021 is 15,85,663 and the same number for the US is 5,91,473.
One may argue that China has inflated numbers because it allows utility patents which can be termed a kind of ‘jugaad’ patents and require less protection and scrutiny. But still, the gap is large when we compare India and China.
Number of Posts
The government seems to have taken cognizance of the urgent need to revamp the IP office and is positive about adding more people to the office.
This can be seen in Government’s actions. Mr. Sanjeev Sanyal has revealed that the sanctioned strength has been increased significantly by more than 100%.
This makes the total sanctioned strength 1,961 in number. For reference, currently, there are around 850 patent officers in the office.
Moreover, there will be 210 contractual posts for technical assistants to controllers and 40 for researchers.
(First hiring of these 210 contractual posts has already taken place. We wrote about it here).
Based on these revelations, let’s address your obvious questions and concerns:
1. Hiring will take place over the next 2-3 years for the post of Patent examiner (By 2025-26, the sanctioned strength of 998 examiners is to be recruited).
2. The post of 963 controllers will be filled by promoting existing patent Examiners as there is no other way to fill the post controller at present. If there are changes to this process, we will let you know.
3. Thus Indian patent office is expected to reach its new Sanctioned strength of 1,961 (i.e. 963 controllers and 998 Examiners) by 2025-26.
4. Going by the current numbers, it appears that almost all of the existing patent examiners are going to get promoted to the post of controller by 2025-26.
This implies that by 2025-26, we may expect 998 vacancies of Patent Examiners.
Such an opportunity is rare because you are going to get more than one chance to join the patent office as a group A, gazetted officer.
5. Additionally, the hiring will take place for contractual posts and researchers from time to time.
6. It is rare to see new posts getting sanctioned in government that too in Group A, Gazetted service. So, you may be thinking, won’t this burden Indian Government financially?
In this regard, it should be noted that the Indian patent office generates revenue way more than it spends. Further, new recruitment is going to increase the earnings of the government. This makes the recruitment of new persons in the IP office a fiscally positive activity.
In conclusion, all I can say is that this once in a lifetime opportunity. India is at a crossroads and taking long strides in various sectors. The intellectual property regime is no different.
The growth of the IP ecosystem in the country means that it is going to add more and more government and private jobs for you. We hope that you get on with your preparation for the recruitment of 1000 permanent personnel in the patent office which is going to take place in multiple phases.
Based on past recruitment, the exam has two stages: pre and mains. In the future, we may see that interviews may also be added. So, be prepared. We wish you luck.
We recommend you read the articles below to know about the process of becoming a patent examiner including exams, the job role, the career progression, etc., and patents in general.
Listen On The Move.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzS0WJLQsck (refer to time stamp 1:04:00)