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India At Par With Australia & UK On Patent Applications; But That’s Nothing To Be Proud Of

Every time we say that there isn’t enough innovation happening in India, a few optimists tell us otherwise. While we’d like to believe them, but data proves otherwise.

Over the eight years between 2005 and 2012, patent applications originating from India have ranged between 4,000 and 7,000 every year, but maintained a yearly average over the period of 5,900 which is around the same level as Australia and the UK, according to a new report.

That’s good, right? Not really.

With a population of over 1.2 billion compared to 22 million for Australia and 62 million for the UK, this level of patenting is particularly low, said the report which also pointed out that nearly two thirds of all Indian patent applications are from foreign concerns seeking  protection for their innovations in the Indian market.

The Research & Innovation Performance Of The G20 report by Thomson Reuters said at an average more than 45,000 scholarly and scientific papers were indexed in Web of Science in 2011 and 2012. This is more than double the number indexed in 2003, which was around 20,000. Web of Science is a database of bibliometrics and citation information.

The silver lining is that many developing nations, such as China and India, are improving their performance and closing the citation impact gap between themselves and the traditional research leaders of Europe and North America.

According to the report, Computer and Information Science papers had the highest relative citation impact among select OECD science field between 2008 and 2012. Papers from Indian in the field of Engineering was among the most cited papers and papers in the field of Mathematics was cited the least.Reuters G20 R&D

The report also says that, India’s share of the Top 10 technologies globally is predominantly weighted towards natural products with little relative share in high tech fields of computing and communications and less in lighting and semiconductor materials.

Indian innovation relative to global patenting is focused more on fused ring heterocyclics (a key component of pharmaceuticals) and other agrochem and pharma-related technology sectors. However, the Top 10 list of companies shows a heavy emphasis on mechanical, automotive and electrical engineering.

Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) with 176 inventions lead the list of both resident and foreign companies. TVS Motor Co Ltd, followed with 143 invention. Amongst the foreign companies with presence in India, Samsung India Software Operation Pvt lead the list with 67 inventions.

None of the Indian IT companies, except for Tata Consultancy Services, have any inventions to their credit.

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