Patents : India Vs. China, Local vs. MNCs – and spineless Indian IT Companies

I have covered the patenting status of India Inc earlier and in this article, lets compare stats from China.

Here is a snapshot of Indian patent story:

In 2007, the total number of patents granted increased by 8X (since 2006) and stands at 15,262. 35,000 (21% growth) patents that were filled in 2007.

Comparison with China (third most prolific patent-filing country in the world after the United States and Japan) throws a different perspective:

  • The State Intellectual Property Office of China (SIPO) received a total of 245,161 20-year patent applications in 2007 .
  • SIPO received approximately the same number of 20-year applications in 1997 as the IPO (i.e. Indian Patent Office) did in 2007-08. So, as far as stats are concerned, India is approximately 10 years behind China.

Ratio of domestic to foreign filing

  • In 2007, filings by domestic applicants in China accounted for 62.4 percent, the y-on-y increase in domestic 20-year patent application filing in the country was 25 %, whereas that of foreign filings was only 4.5 percent.
  • In India, foreign applicants filed 80 % of the patents, and the corresponding growth in domestic application filing was only 20 percent during the same period. [via]


  • No IT/ITES companies, including TCS and Infosys (with only 35 and 29 published applications respectively), feature in the Top 200 list of filers with the IPO.
  • Six domestic pharmaceutical and biotech companies – Ranbaxy, Dr. Reddy’s Labs, Orchid Pharmaceuticals, Cadila Healthcare, Cipla and Sun Pharmaceuticals – appear in the Top 100 list and another three – Aurobindo Pharmaceuticals, Torrent Pharmaceuticals and Matrix Labs – appear in the next 100 list of filers with the IPO.

Evalueserve’s study suggests changes to the existing patent application process, and allow a second category of patents, known as utility model patents, which have a validity of 10 years from their filing date and which can be granted within 6 to 12 months since they are not examined substantively.

The patent growth in China is also attributed to the lower cost of patent application – the filing fee for 10-year patents is only US $70!.

What’s really concerning about dismal patent numbers in India is the lack of interest in IT sector – which is supposed to be knowledge sector (isn’t Bangalore, world’s # 2 tech hotspot?)

Do Indian IT companies give a damn to IP? I believe, it’s just a lip service (and is handled by PR and not R&D dept.) and nothing beyond that.

What’s your take?

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