The European Patent Office (EPO) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Intellectual Property Office of India (IPO India) to promote innovation in India and the European Union.
The MoU aims at bilateral co-operation between the EPO & IPO and seeks to establish a framework for structured work relations between both the offices for a minimum of four years. It is signed with an objective to support the development of the patent system in terms of service delivery and efficiency, particularly by means of technical co-operation and exchange of best practices in areas such as patent examination, administration and information.
It is also a positive step in the sense that it encourages European businesses to take their inventions to the Indian market. In this respect, the MoU also aims to stimulate the promotion of economic development and the transfer of technology between both regions.
EPO, on its website provided that out of the 43,674 patent applications filed with the Indian Patent Office in 2012/13, 9911 were filed by Indian applicants. In fact, both national and international patent filings by Indians have increased considerably in 2012/13 alone, by 11% and 32% respectively, year-on-year. Out of the approximately 1,100 international patent applications filed by Indian residents in 2013, 564 applications were received by the EPO. Applications filed by Europeans at the Indian IPO remain stable at approximately 12,000, or roughly one third of foreign filings. Five of the top 10 foreign resident applicants at the IPO are European companies.
The Department of Electronics & Information Technology (DEITY) of the Government of India and the EPO have also signed a work plan to establish a platform for co-operation in the field of Information & Communication Technology (ICT) related patent matters between the two countries. DEITY & EPO jointly organized the Indo-European Conference on ICT- Related Patents in Munich on 7th November 2014, where these developments were announced. The Conference intended to provide European Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and industry in the ICT sector, as well as IP law firms, business associations and chambers of commerce, with first-hand accounts of the opportunities and challenges presented by the Indian patent system.