Foreign firms crowd out domestic cos in patent applications

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New Delhi | Updated: Aug 20, 2015 7:07 AM

Around 43,000 applications filed annually. Out of the total applications, just 28% are filed by Indians; Only 3% of the patents are commercialised.

patent application indiaAround 43,000 applications filed annually. Out of the total applications, just 28% are filed by Indians; Only 3% of the patents are commercialised. (Thinkstock image)

Of the over 43,000-odd patent applications filed annually in the country, just 28 per cent are filed by Indians while the rest — an overwhelming 72 per cent — are filed by foreign entities, according to a state-wise analysis of the patent applications by the industry ministry. Even more disconcerting is the fact that just 3 per cent of the patents granted are actually commercialised.

The foreign entities include companies registered abroad, universities, institutions and individuals while Indian entities include companies domestically registered, research institutes, universities and individuals.

The analysis comes at a time when the government is working on bringing in a national intellectual property rights (IPR) policy to promote awareness about intellectual property and protect interest of innovators. Concerned over the data, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), responsible for framing the IPR policy, has written to all government departments and research organisations to “encourage domestic innovators and educate them about the potential of their rights,” a government official told The Indian Express.

A look at the patent applications for 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 shows that states including Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Delhi have been consistently topping the charts. While Maharashtra saw 3,270 applications being filed in 2014-15, Karnataka followed with 2,132 applications, Tamil Nadu 1,440 and Delhi with 1,127 applications during the last fiscal, accounting for three-fourth of 12,104 applications filed.

The increase in filing of the patents over the year has also been very marginal, around 1.5 per cent year-on-year. Industry said that while the government has started moving on this front, more needs to be done to develop patent culture.

“The government has indeed taken several measures and its improving. However, there is a big backlog in the patents office, capacity building is needed to clear it … We are very poor in patenting and the patent culture is weak. It is gradually improving and in the next 5-10 years I expect it to improve exponentially,” Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, CMD, Biocon Ltd, said. Keeping in view the need of the hour, “soon nodal officers would be appointed in states to help in creating awareness and help innovators in getting the innovation patented,” the official said.

Further, according to the annual report 2013-14 of Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks, among the top 10 foreign applicants, Qualcomm Inc filed 1,062 applications during the year, Koninklijke Philips NV filed 839applications, Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson filed 386 applications, Robert Bosch GMBH filed 375, while Samsung Electronics Co Ltd filed as many as 371 applications for patents.

According to World Intellectual Property Organization, between January and May this year, IBM was granted 128 patents by the India compared to a whopping 3,059 patents granted by the US. Similarly, Samsung was granted 43 patents compared to 3,052 patents by the US; LG got 37 patents in India compared to 1,484 in the US; Google Inc got no patents in India compared to 1.083 patents by the US; and Microsoft was given 10 patents by India compared to 1.037 approved by the US. “Foreign countries are filing more patents outside because of the Indian laws and the commercialisation aspect of it. While it may be commercially successful in other countries, there may be not much success in India. The process is also complex compared to other countries, putting India at a disadvantage,” another official dealing with the matter said.

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