The real reason why India lags behind in innovation | So Good News


“Patent” is a symbol of continuous innovation in the country. While India claims to be making great strides in technology adoption, it still lags behind when it comes to innovation.

India ranks 40th in the Global Intellectual Property Index out of 53 countries on the US Chamber’s International IP Index. A total of 50,659 patent applications were filed in 2018–19, an increase of 5.9% over the previous year.

Trends in the last five years About filing IP applications in India

India has invested significantly in making its patent system transparent and efficient, but it still lags far behind the IP5 countries.

About 80% of all patent applications filed worldwide are processed jointly by IP5 offices, and about 95% of all work is done under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), the international convention governing patent law. The PCT provides a standardized process for filing patent applications to protect inventions in all contracting states.

Experts say that patenting is the biggest indicator of innovation and India is sorely lacking in this, seeing a minute increase in patent applications every year. India’s patent applications have increased from 8,538 in 2000 to 50,659 in 2019, according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

India lacks R&D

India’s ranking in patent applications is directly related to the country’s investment in research and development. The country spends only 0.7% of GDP on R&D, while the US spends 2.8%, China 2.1%, Israel 4.3% and Korea 4.2% of GDP. spends on R&D. These numbers explain why India lacks innovation compared to others.

Furthermore, most R&D investments are made in India at the behest of the government with small contributions from corporations.

Interestingly, unlike other economies, most R&D investments in India are made by the government. In 2015, Indian corporations spent just $17 billion on R&D, while their Chinese and American counterparts spent $286 billion and $341 billion, respectively. It is clear that the role of the private sector is huge in this scenario.

Additionally, this may help explain why there has been no significant increase in the number of resident applications in India, but a steady increase in the number of international patent applications.

India vs other countries in innovation

According to data compiled by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), India filed just 2,053 patent applications in 2019, less than 1% of global applications. The performance of private companies was much higher than that of a country like India. For example, Huawei filed 4,411, Mitsubishi Electric 2,661, Samsung 2,334 and Qualcomm 2,127 applications.

Moreover, no Indian company made it to the global top 50 list, while 13 Chinese companies did.

Low literacy is another factor

IP literacy is very low in India, which is another factor that discourages individuals and educational institutions from filing patents.

Of the 50,000 patent applications filed in India in 2018–19, only 30% were by local businesses or individuals; the remaining 70% were submitted by international candidates. Compare that to 1.4 million patent applications, most of which come from Chinese inventors.

India has 8 million students studying technology in 10,000 institutions. More than 95% of these institutions have not filed any intellectual property, and the remaining 5% issue between 2,000 and 2,500 patents each year.

These low rates reflect the lack of IP understanding among Indian SMEs, students and academia. It is believed that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in India lose millions in revenue due to such inadequate knowledge of IPR (Intellectual Property Rights).

Compared to other countries, India is currently one of the leaders in reducing tuition fees for colleges. For example, under the new Patent Rules, an educational institution is required to pay INR 160 per page for each page of nucleotide and/or amino acid sequence listing up to a maximum of INR 24,000. This fee is approximately 80% off the usual fees. Previously, these institutions were paying INR 800 per page and INR 120,000 per sequence listing.

Experts argue that the amendments are aimed at smoothing the process of filing patent applications. In the past, educational institutions were reluctant to patent and protect their inventions due to high fees.

Educational institutions in India are now on par with the United States and China – the two countries that hold the most patents in the world. India currently ranks third in scientific publications, but much lower in patent applications; Scientific research and development is very important for countries with high patenting rates. Once the major financial barrier is removed, India should be in a strong position to encourage innovation and increase the number of patent applications filed by educational institutions.


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