While India’s tech industry and the startup ecosystem have grown leaps and bounds over the last decade, the same cannot be said about the patents and intellectual property ecosystem. In a bid to boost innovation in the country, there’s an urgent need to bring in reforms in patents and intellectual property rights so that new innovation is inoculated against intellectual property theft. And to build towards that vision, the union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the budget 2020 pitched for improved intellectual property rights through dedicated policy in this regard.
Sitharaman said that the country needs to expand the base for knowledge-driven enterprises, and the only way to achieve this is by streamlining the intellectual property creation and protection process. This will play a crucial role in new firm creation as well.
FM Sitharaman pitched a digital platform to facilitate seamless application and capture of intellectual property rights. She said that a centre would be established within an institute of excellence to solve the complexities and contribute to innovation in the field of intellectual property.
The Union Budget 2020 also called for knowledge translation clusters, which would facilitate transfer and customisation of available resources and intellectual property rights. These would be set up across different technology sectors including new and emerging areas.
“For designing, fabrication and validation of proof of concept, and further scaling up technology clusters, harbouring such testbeds and small scale manufacturing facilities would be established,” Sitharaman said.
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India’s National IP Policy
Recently, the government had emphasised that the National IPR Policy, which was adopted back in 2016 to ha paved the way to strengthen intellectual property rights in India. It said that the share of domestic filings for patents has increased from 22% in 2013-14 to 34% in 2018-19.
In terms of filing of IP applications, the number of patents has grown by 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, the number of patents has grown 353% from 2013-14 to 2018-19 and trademarks have grown 395% in the same period.
Suman Reddy Eadunuri, MD, Pegasystems India said, “The setting up of a digital platform for seamless application and capture of intellectual property rights (IPR) moves us closer towards an era of enhanced public-private partnership where technology will play a decisive role.”
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.
Gaurav Bali, founder and CEO, AmyGB.ai said, “The push on data and knowledge centres, digital platforms for IPR and most importantly, support for early-stage funding are key to creating a viable startup ecosystem capable of competing with other markets.”
In a bid to ensure more patents and trademarks, the ministry of industry and commerce recommended 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.