Sri Lanka’s National Intellectual Property Office (NIPO) is working tirelessly with limited resources to clear the back log of all pending applications for registration of patents and trademarks over the next 18 months.
The easing of the procedures for appraisal/ grant of intellectual property rights (IPRs), has resulted in far quicker disposal of applications and reduced the backlog substantially, NIPO Director General Geethanjali R. Ranawaka said.
Considerable delays had occurred in the registration of a trade mark such as a period from 7 months to 10 years from the date of receipt of an application for registration of a trademark, for its examination, a period from 1 year to 03 years after payment of fees, inventors and new company heads complained.
Ms Ranawake pointed out that the process of issuing TMs and patents has been expedited with the increase in qualified and skilled staff.
However she said that due to previous complex process and shortage staff in the past, a long period is required to grant a patent and to register a trade mark.
‘We are not purposely delaying the granting of patents to inventors, but the process of issuing patents is time consuming because it has to be one hundred percent perfect, she claimed.
The number of staff members has been increased to 79from 44 during the period of 2012-2018 to expedite the process.
NIPO has been able to clear around 33,000 untouched Trademark Applications with ten officials working hard in TM division.
The Intellectual Property Office was functioningwith half of the approved cadre to clear the back log of applications; Ms Ranawake said adding that she was the only staff officer attached to the officeat that time in 2012.
“As at today we have only 7000 TM applications to be examined filed which have been filed during 2017, 2018 and 2019, she added.
Currently we have approval for the deployment of staff on special project assignment basisto clear the backlog of 7000 applications and 10000 certificates as this cannotbe cleared by available human resources during office hours, Ms Ranawake emphasised.
In respect of patents NIPO has issued around 1000patent certificates during last 4 years.
However, another 1000 applications pending to be finalized and most of them cannot be disposed due to the defective and insufficient documents filed by the patent applicants, she revealed.
“When we receive the corrected documents we can proceed with granting process”, she said.
Referring financial position of NIPO, she noted that revenue has been increased rapidly starting from Rs.98 million in 2012 toRs.156 million Rupees in 2017 and Rs. 170.76 million in 2018
This was a remarkable increase in economic terms ofIntellectual Property Activities as well as business and commerce, Ms Ranawake claimed.