The history of the Indian Patenting System can be traced back as far as 1856. More than 3,60,000 patents have been granted in India till Dec. 2022 and this number is only going to go up from here. Patent filings are on the rise and were up from 42763 in 2014-15 to 66440 in 2021-22. However, despite increased patent activity in India, awareness regarding patents and intellectual property, in general, is still lacking among the common people of our country. Who grants patents in India is still unknown to many and this article aims to address the same question.
Controller General of Patents, Designs, & Trademarks (CGPDTM) grants patents in India. The CGPDTM delegates his power to his subordinate officers, who grant or refuse patent applications on his behalf. The Indian Patent Office, supervised by the Office of CGPDTM, is an agency under DPIIT that processes patent applications.
When I first read the acronym CGPDTM, I struggled to pronounce it. So, you are not alone. Focusing on the full form made it easier for me.
When you hear about patents for the first time, your curious mind leads to the next obvious question, who grants patents in India? Who is the granting authority for patents in India? Earlier, we discussed this question in brief. The next part of the article explores the same question in detail.
Who grants or refuses the patent application and how?
Broadly, there are 4 aspects to be understood about the process of granting or refusing the patent application:
- The CGPDTM
- Patent Examiners
- Indian Patent Office
For obvious reasons, as a single person, the CGPDTM can’t handle the thousands of patent applications filed every year in the Indian Patent Office. The CGPDTM, therefore, delegates his powers to his subordinate officers, also known as controllers. These controllers are statutory Group A category officers. They exercise the power delegated to them for the grant or refusal of patent applications.
Another Statutory Group A category post in Indian Patent Office is Examiner of Patents & Designs often referred to as Patent Examiners. They are primarily responsible for examining the patent application and making recommendations to the controller about the merits of the patent application under the provisions of the Patent Act & Rules.
Important information to note is that the patent right for an invention is granted for a period of 20 years in India.
The Controllers & the Patent Examiners are generally referred to as Patent Officers.
The CGPDTM is a statutory authority for the grant of patents under the Patents Act, 1970, and is referred to as CG (Controller General) in short.
The Controller General administers the various aspects of Patents, Trademarks, Designs, and Geographical Indications under the provisions of The Patents Act, 1970, The Trademarks Act 1999, The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, and The Designs Act, 2000 and advises the Government on matters related to these subjects.
This makes the CGPDTM overall supervisor of all of the four branches of the Indian Patent Office.
The CGPDTM is appointed with pay at Level-14 (Joint Secretary) of the Central Government of India.
Note: The statutory authority is set up by an act of parliament or state legislatures and is non-constitutional i.e. not defined in the Indian Constitution.
The controller is the one who actually takes the final decision on whether to grant a patent application or refuse it.
To deal with various proceedings under the provisions of the Patent Act, controllers are given certain powers of a civil court. This makes the controller a quasi-judicial authority.
The question may arise in your mind how does the controller decide whether to grant or refuse the application?
While deciding the fate of a patent application, the controller considers the recommendation of the Patent Examiner, the submissions from the patent applicant, and the third party, if any, who has to say something in the matter. If needed, the patent applicant is issued a hearing notice, where the applicant is given a chance to present his case fairly before the controller. The hearing can take place either physically or via a video conferencing facility. Based on these proceedings, the controller, under the guidance of the Patent Act and Rules, decides whether to grant or refuse the patent.
There are different pay levels of the central government under which these controllers function.
According to different pay levels, they are called Senior Joint Controller of Patents & Designs, Joint Controller of Patents & Designs, Deputy Controller of Patents & Designs, and Assistant Controller of Patents & Designs. All of these officers belong to Group A category.
The table below outlines the hierarchical structure of controllers in the Indian Patent Office.
|Post||Pay at Level|
|Controller General of Patents, Designs, & Trade Marks||Level-14 (144200-218200)|
|Senior Joint Controller of Patents & Designs||Level-13A (131100-216600)|
|Joint Controller of Patents & Designs||Level-13 (123100-215900)|
|Deputy Controller of Patents & Designs||Level-12 (78800-209200)|
|Assistant Controller of Patents & Designs||Level-11 (67700-208700)|
Irrespective of their level and designations, all of the controllers are authorized to handle patent applications for grant or refusal independently.
This section deals with the question of what role do Patent Examiners play in the grant or refusal of a patent application?
Patent applications for examination are allotted to Patent Examiners. They examine the patent applications for both formal and technical examination.
- The formal examination includes checking the documents submitted, fees and validity of authorizations needed for the application, etc.
- Technical examination of the patent application includes understanding the invention, searching databases for prior art (prior documents), seeing if there is already such an invention available, and analyzing the documents.
- Based on the formal and technical examination, the Patent Examiner makes his recommendation about the merits of the application to the Controller in order to assist the controller in whether to grant or refuse the application.
Officers in the Patent Office are recruited at the level of patent examiners. They are appointed with pay at Level-10 (56100-177500) of the Central Government. Subsequently, after promotions, they reach various positions in the Patent Office, as outlined in Table 1.
If you want to know who is a patent examiner, what is the job role and how can you become a patent examiner in India then you should check out a detailed article written by us entitled how to become a patent examiner in India.
Indian Patent Office
Indian Patent Office is a subordinate office under DPIIT(Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade). Furthermore, DPIIT is the department under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of india.
There are four branches of the Indian Patent Office located in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata & Chennai covering the entire geography of India in four directions.
As it is clear from the previous paragraph, there is a provision of territorial jurisdiction in the Indian Patent Act. Therefore, patents are filed according to the territorial jurisdiction.
Below is the table that maps out the country in four Jurisdictions:
|Branch of Patent Office||Territorial Jurisdiction|
|Mumbai||The States of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, |
Goa, and Chhattisgarh and the Union Territories of
Daman and Diu & Dadra and Nagar Haveli
|Chennai||The States of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, |
Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and the Union Territories
of Pondicherry and Lakshadweep
|New Delhi||The States of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab,|
Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi and
the Union Territory of Chandigarh, Union Territory
of Jammu and Kashmir, Union Territory of Ladakh
|Kolkata||The rest of India|
It is to be noted that patents can be filed on any of these 4 branches according to territorial jurisdiction. However, granted patent is valid all over Indian territory. And yes, patent is a territorial right.