India has been the hotbed for technology advancement for the last few decades. As a result, on a Y-o-Y basis, the country has been creating a global mark in terms of its innovation. For instance, in 2019, the Global Innovation Index ranked India at 52nd position, from 81st in 2015.
To further accentuate such innovation, the centre has been emphasising on patents and trademarks to boost India-first innovations, especially solving for India. The increase in such applications has come to light recently.
In the Winter Session of the Lok Sabha on December 13, Union minister for science and technology Harsh Vardhan was asked to give details about the funding and increase in patents with Young Scientists programme.
To begin with, Department of Science and Technology (DST) launched Scheme for Young Scientists and Technologists (SYST) in the year 1991. Innovative technological ideas in the form of a proposal from young passionate researchers were invited aimed at addressing socio-economic challenges like AI and IoT in agriculture etc, hybrid solar PV, robots for societies, etc.
As a result, the minister said that the number of applications for patents, filed by Indian applicants including young scientists in 2017-18, was 15,550, a Y-o-Y 18% increase. The number of patents granted to Indians in 2017-18 was 1937, which indicates a growth of 205% during the period 2013-18.
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Further, Vardhan said that the funding under Young Scientist Research Programme by the Government has resulted in several positive attributes including an increase in patent filings, patent approvals, number of research papers and enhancement of quality of research papers.
The minister said that funding by the Ministry of Science and Technology exclusively for young scientist research programmes grew from INR 804 Cr in 2013-14 to INR 1283 crore in 2018-19, a 59.5% growth between 2013-18.
He added that India’s research papers including that of Young Scientists increased by 50% from 90,864 in 2011 to 1,36,238 in 2016 with a growth rate of 8.4% as compared to the global growth rate of 1.9% during the period 2011-16.
Recently, the government had emphasised that the National IPR Policy, which was adopted in 2016 and has paved the way to further strengthen the IPR regime in the country. It said that domestic filing for patents has increased from 22% in 2013-14 to 34% in 2018-19.
In terms of filing of IP applications, patents have grown 18% from 2013-14 to 2018-19, while trademarks have grown 69% in the same period. However, in the case of the disbursal of IPR applications, patents have grown 353% from 2013-14 to 2018-19 and trademarks have grown 395% in the same period.
In July 2019, Union minister of commerce and industry Piyush Goyal said that 1,496 patent applications have been granted 80% rebate on filing fee while 2,761 trademark applications have been granted a 50% rebate on the filing fee.
In a bid to ensure more patents and trademarks, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce suggested that fees for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and startups for filing of patent applications be reduced by 60% from INR 4000 (for MSMEs) and INR 4400 (for startups) to INR 1,600 and INR 1,750.
However, as the country moves towards building innovation capacities, a recent report by CII and TCS showed that India needs to bring in new guidelines and policies for the enforcement of intellectual property rights, patents and intellectual property management in an AI world, where machines are often creating and inventing solutions with minimal human intervention.