Innovation Takes Off in India!

29 Dec 2018

Creations of the mind are not just personally satisfying. Creativity drives Intellectual property (IP) and contributes to economic growth as well. Inventions, literary and artistic works, designs and symbols, names and images are all used by businesses for boosting their growth.

IP is protected in law by patents, copyright and trademarks which enable people to earn the recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create. A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention. It provides its owner the right to decide how or whether the invention can be used by others.

The demand for IP protection is rising faster than global economic growth, which just shows that innovation is an increasingly important part of industry activity.

India’s creativity has always been a hallmark of its historical culture. Today, we see its rising influence in business and innovation.  2017 saw a tremendous increment in the number of patents filed, double that of the previous year, placing India in the 10th position on a global forum.

According to the UN’s World’s Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) the number of patents filed in India escalated from 8,248 in 2016 to 12,387 in 2017. The WIPO Indicators report showed that 10,675 patents belonged to foreigners and the remaining 1,712 to individuals and entities in India.

This rise can be attributed to several key factors.

First, there has been a significant increase in R&D expenditure in the country, with India as the 6th largest spender in the world. Sectors such as IT, pharma, electronics and automobiles have built up their R&D outflows to leverage differentiation of their products. The pharmaceutical sector itself is responsible for a significant 15.7% contribution to the Indian domestic applications filed last year.

Two, financial assistance from private and public banking sectors also aid in increasing the number of patents filed.  With investment funds of all tiers active in the Indian markets, new research and ideas are getting the much-needed backing to convert into patent applications.

Three, India released a new national Intellectual Property Rights Policy, which seeks to enhance Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India scheme by boosting innovation. This significantly bolstered the IP ecosystem of the country.  Improvement in online services has made it easier to file patents. According to the Indian Patents Office, the number of applications has gone up by 10% in the past two years. This growth is also accredited to the availability of IP specialists across the country.

Finally, a very important aspect is the Incentives provided for start-ups under the government’s Start-up India initiative which provides plenty of benefits to new Indian ventures, including an 80% rebate on patent filing.

In May 2017, the central government introduced various start-up intellectual property protection schemes to ease patent filing for start-ups and promote awareness and adoption of IP rights. Moreover, under these schemes, the central government bears the fees of the facilitators for patents, trademarks or designs that a start-up may file. Start-ups only have to bear the cost of the statutory fees.

The Indian government has introduced mechanisms for speedy processing of patent applications, and it is now possible to acquire a patent in India within a year of its filing. Indian start-ups can also file their patents overseas which just shows the immense confidence overseas investors have in India’s IPR system.

Recent history shows that technology and development are essential for the growth of any economy. India’s patent system has been continuously evolving to promote innovation and encourage economic development. With new policies and strategies in place and continuous development going on in nearly every sector of the country, India is bound to be granted more and more patents, aiding in the growth of the economy as a whole.

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