#PatentShame: 7 Out Of 10 Patents In India Are Filed By Non-Indians; Is Research Dying In India?


Software Patents

As per latest data released from Controller General Patents Designs and Trademarks, Indians are not only lagging behind in filing and claiming patents, but foreigners are taking full advantage of this situation.

During the last three years, between 2013-16, there were total of 1.45 lakh patents filed in India; and out of that, only 39,318 or 27% were filed by Indians. Rest 73% or 1.05 lakh were filed by inventors and investors belonging to foreign locations.

If we observe the data 2016-17, then out of 12,442 patents filed in the country, 9194 or 74% of them were filed by legal organizations from abroad. During 2015-16, 46,904 patents were filed (which is highest for a year), but 72% or 33,846 of them were filed by foreigners.

And who is to blame for such as lackluster approach to research? For one thing, Govt. is not to be blamed as they are providing enough grants, opportunities and mentors for researchers to conduct their studies.

In fact, we had earlier reported that funds related to research and development is pouring into India, and we have even beaten China in this regard. No wonder, 9% of all global patents secured by Cisco comes from India.

But why Indian companies and researchers are falling behind?

It is the attitude of Indian companies and researchers which is being blamed by senior scientists and research veterans.

Prof CNR Rao, who is the recipient of Bharat Ratna award stressed on the need of accountability and responsibility from researchers. He has earlier stated on record, “Researchers are relaxing with too many furniture. Little sheds are enough to do research, (but) many facilities have pampered researchers. It doesn’t matter which government is in power, it is time India starts getting the results (based on research) out.”

Last year, companies like Exxon Mobil, Lowe’s, Visa, Victoria’s Secret, JC Penny, CME Group, Wells Fargo, and British Telecom opened their R&D facilities in India, but very few Indian companies are doing the same.

UR Rao, who is a former chairman of ISRO recounted one incident: “In the 1960s when I was a researcher at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), on a random day, three people met me in the lab and said, ‘We understand you have developed a new technology. MIT thinks it is patentable.’ We do not have this culture.”

As per him, two major issues which is stopping successful patents from India are: a) Lack of patentable work happening within the country b) Lack of support from institutions and startups when it comes to long term research and then patent support.

As per various reports, 86% of overall patent applications in India are pending, and it takes 5 years to get a patent in India. When it comes to time sensitive niches such as technology, then such massive gaps in application and approval can make the whole point of patenting obsolete.

Although Indian Govt. has recently announced a new patent framework for Indian entrepreneurs, startups and inventors, in order to seamlessly secure patents; it seems much work is still remaining to be done.

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