Patenting in India – Rising, But Not There Yet

A country’s intellectual cap/growth can be fairly judged on the number of patents that are filed.

Till 2005, the number of patents that was granted by the Indian Patent Office was 1,911.

And 2006-07?
The number has grown by 8X and stands at 15,262. What’s really interesting to note is the total number of patents that were filled – 35,000.

Though the number is drastically low (~3 in a million file patent, compared to world average of 250), but is surely a good start.

The rise is linked to modernization of the patent and other intellectual-property offices. The Indian government spent more than $35 million in the first phase of the modernization effort, which included setting up integrated intellectual-property offices in four major cities and launching electronic filing of applications.

Another $75 million is to be spent to establish a Trade Marks Registry and Intellectual Property Archives and allied activities. The government has also begun work on a National Institute of Intellectual Property Management to handle training, education, research and think tank functions in intellectual-property rights. –source

The next big question is who is filing patents – Indian companies or MNCs in India?

Lets look at the numbers:

  • 358 of total 413 drug patents filed were from MNCs (Novartis, Aventis, Bristol Myers Squibb, Pfizer, Boehringer, Roche and Abbot.]
  • I did a study 4 years back, and one of the findings was that close to 80% of software patents were filed by MNCs – mostly driven by companies like TI, IBM , HP and Sun etc. Very few Indian companies were into serious IP business (Moser Baer, ITTIAM etc).

Infact this was also one of the concerns raised at NASSCOM’s product conclave summit, i.e. why is the number of patents filed from Indian companies so less?

  • Is is due to lack of R&D budget (+ willingness)?
  • Or unknowingness of the benefits of patenting?
  • Or a general shyness towards “hoarding” knowledge (a trait that doesn’t gel well with Indians) – this was pointed out by ittiam’s founder?

What’s your opinion?

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