CHANGING TRENDS OF PATENT FILING DURING AND POST PANDEMIC
Talking about the trends of patent filings in India, in the past decade or so, there has been a drastic raise in patent filings. Marking its impact in the competitive era, India has witnessed increased innovations in turn driving the growth in patent filings. Recent patent prosecution trends indicate that not only patent filings have increased year on year but there has also been a substantial increase in the number of applications published, examined and disposed by the patent office. Furthermore with the recent Amendments in Patent Rules and Fee Structure, patent filings in India shall promisingly be boosted.
On the other hand, circumstances have changed with this pandemic. The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has dampened many commercial maneuvers in countries around the world, including India. The world has witnessed first of its kind like situation with the global lock down. This has led to an economic setback for various industrial sectors ultimately affecting the country’s GDP. As various sectors of industries are struggling with the finance, they scramble to reduce expenses one or the other way. IP budgets may be on the chopping block, due to which notable drop is observed in the recent trends of patent filings during pandemic. There is a steep decline in R&D activities as well.
It is imperative to understand that IP plays the pivotal role in not only accelerating the Individuals (Applicant/owners) economic growth but also it generates the great revenue for the country`s GDP. We’re still into the pandemic, yet already robots are routinely disinfecting our cities, delivering packages and much more. The widespread use of smart devices in medicine has arrived, with a range of sensors monitoring patients and collecting data. The impact of the pandemic on patent filings varied dramatically across industries. Notwithstanding the pandemic effect certain sectors of industries including life sciences, chemical, pharmaceuticals, have witnessed dramatic growth in R&D, licensing activity, sale of patented product & technology, filing of new patent applications.
Crisis is a trigger for innovation and this has elicited human minds to think of various solutions coming up with various innovations. All these innovations may be the subject matter of patent applications. However, there exists different opinions in the society amongst various stakeholders. On one hand academicians, universities, healthcare providers and companies across the globe are meticulously working to develop a vaccine and the treatment of COVID-19 disease. On the other hand there are attempts and collaborations taking place to obtain exclusive rights and licenses.
In this scenario, it is pertinent to righteously balance the monopolistic rights of the patent holder and the rights of the society at large. To protect the sanctity and integrity of patent systems, and in order to ensure that an anti-IP sentiment is not generated globally, answers need to be found within the existing regime. Within the purview of the Patent Act itself, there are sections addressing these concerns such as section regarding compulsory licensing, licensing related to patents. Also available is the patent pool option. We need to ensure that a judicious balance between the exclusive monopolistic rights and rights of the society at large is maintained utilizing them wisely. A thoughtful utilization of these at such times shall indeed create an astute balance in the society along with boosting the country’s ecosystem with a well planned and executed IP protection.