Comparative Analysis of Trends in Intellectual Property Worldwide and in India

Comparative Analysis of Trends in Intellectual Property Worldwide and in India


The COVID-19 pandemic, as we all know and experienced, caused major disruption in all aspects of our life-be it personal or business. Businesses have had to bear huge losses and some even went bankrupt. The Pandemic has indeed been catastrophic. But, when it comes to Intellectual Property, the year 2020proved to be brighter than 2019. Applications for Patents, Trademarks and Industrial Designs increased worldwide. In this Blog post, while analysing the data published by the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) in their Report of the World IP Indicators 2020, we aim to provide insights about the IP indicators observed in India in the year 2020.



According to WIPO’s Report: World IP Indicators 2020, an impressive 3.3 million patents applications were filed in 2020. There was a major contribution by Asian economies, which gave around 1.6% growth in the patent applications in 2020.In fact, the rate of grant of patent applications grew by 6% in 2020, worldwide .In published patent applications, the maximum number was that of computer technology followed by electrical machinery.


The year 2020 witnessed a rising trending the number of patent applications being filed in India. A total of 37,880 patent applications were filed in India in the year 2020, witnessing an increase of 10.10% compared to the previous year.

The highest number of applications filed pertained to the field of pharmaceuticals, which constitute around 17.8% of total published applications. The number of patents granted in 2020 in India saw a double-digit growth of around 11.8% and Resident and non-resident grants contributed equally to this growth.

This positive increase in the number of patent applications filed and processed by the Indian Patent Office may be contributed to the several procedural improvements and legal amendments that have come up in the past few years.

Talking about the procedural improvements, readers (especially overseas applicants) would be glad to know that the Indian Patent Office (IPO) is no more a sleeping elephant, rather, it has become so fast that it has forced the IP Firms of India to hire more staff to be able to keep up with the rate of processing of the Indian Patent Office. A most interesting at the IPO was the recruitmentof 220 new Examiners of Patents & Designs, which has now streamlined the publication of First Examination Reports (FER).As of February 28, 2021, the total strength of patent and design examiners (for all fields) at Indian Patent Office stands at 613.Electronic filing system and, video conferencing facility for hearings has also led to seamless processing of applications even during unprecedented times.

As of February 28, 2021, pendency at the IPO is as follows:

Number of applications for which Request of Examination has been filed but an examination report (OA) has not been issued = 28849

Number of applications pending disposal for which response to OA has been filed = 104859

Now talking about the legal amendments, firstly, the Supreme Court aided in preserving patent rights during these difficult times by extending the limitation period for all deadlines twice in March 2020 and then in April 2021.The Patents (Amendment) Rules of 2019 brought forth the amendment of Rule 21 of the Indian Patents Rules, which now requires a Verified English Translation of a non-English priority document to be filed only at the invitation of the Controller. The Amendment Rules of 2019 also eased the process of filing working statements by releasing a new and easier to file Form 27 via which, one working statement may be filed for multiple related patents, wherein the approximate revenue/value accrued cannot be derived separately.



2020 witnessed an increase 0f 16.5% in the filing of trademark applications worldwide, with around 13.4 million applications being filed, which is quite impressive given the circumstances.

However, there was a decrease in the number of trademarks registered, as compared to the year 2019, with 8.6 million registrations worldwide, amounting to a decline of 7% in the year 2020.


In the year 2020, India surpassed Japan and became the 5th largest in the world in terms of trademark filings. A total of 418,560 trademark applications were filed in India in the year 2020, marking an increase of 17.4% increase compared to the previous year.

The most trademark applications were filed in the healthcare sector. It is safe to assume that the healthcare sector wished to protect its intellectual property with more zeal during the pandemic, leading to this rise in the number of filings.

However, the trademark registrations in India took a hit and dropped by 21% from 2019, with 2,93,295 classes specified in trademark registrations, including resident, non-resident and abroad applications.

Industrial Designs


The year 2020 witnessed almost 1.1 million industrial designs applications filed worldwide, a 5.6% increase as compared to 2019.While China was the major contributor of this, Asia as a continent, contributed about 70% to this impressive figure of 1.1 million design applications.

The sector which contributed the most in the Industrial Designs filings is the furniture and household goods sector, accounting for 18.4% of the total global filings.

The number of worldwide Industrial Design registrations also grew in 2020, though not as aggressively as others. They reached around 4.8 million in 2020, with an increase of 19.8% as compared to the previous year.


A total of 11,849 industrial design applications were filed in India in the year 2020, a decrease of 7.6% as compared to the previous year’s figure of 12,753 applications.

Talking about registrations, a total of 11,987 designs were registered in 2020in India, as opposed to 16,422 registrations in 2019.


Despite the onset of pandemic and the challenges thereof, the number of filings in Intellectual Property grew worldwide. We hope that this trend will continue in the upcoming years as well, free from COVID-19. Even though some aspects of Intellectual property might have declined in terms of number of filings and registrations in certain regions, the outlook seems to be positive and growing, based on data and reports.

Certain similarities are observed in the global trends and the Indian trends, which, considering the powerhouse that India is proving to be, is expected to continue in the future.

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