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Indian New Incentive to Keep Patent Examiners

Issued: May 22 2014

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has suggested the Flexible Complementing Scheme be extended to patent examiners, an incentive mechanism to retain patent examiners in the Indian Patent Office.


Under this scheme, fast promotions are given to scientific staff, making them eligible for higher pay scales without waiting for vacancies.


“After several rounds of talks with the Ministry of Science and Technology, we have finally managed to get its consent,” a DIPP official told Business Line. The scheme still needs the Finance Ministry’s approval before being implements.


“We hope the Finance Ministry would agree to our proposal as the Patent Office is really struggling to deal with the pile of pending patent applications,” the official said.


Patent applications at the Indian Patent Office have been experiencing backlogs with lack of examiners. The office currently takes three to five years to clear applications with less than 100 examiners. It can come down to one year once the required number of examiners is in place, the website reported Chaitanya Prasad saying, Controller General of Patents and Trademarks.


“Of the 250 candidates that were chosen in the last recruitment process, only 150 joined as patent examiners. Of these, about 30 have already quit for greener pastures and more may follow,” Business Line quoted the official. The wide difference between the salary offered by the Government and that offered by the private sector, that includes legal firms handling patent cases, is the main reason for examiners quitting.


While training is underway for 150 examiners, most of them holding a master’s degree in engineering or the sciences, the Patent Office needs many more. Chaitanya Prasad, Controller General of Patents and Trademarks, in an earlier interaction with the media, said that his office hopes to recruit 500 patent examiners over the next four-five years.


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