[Answered] The patent system is a critical aspect of the national innovation ecosystem, thus, the right interventions should be made for the promotion of the patent infrastructure. Comment.

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Explain how patent system is a critical aspect of the national innovation ecosystem. Also write some measures for the promotion of the patent infrastructure.
Conclusion: Write a way forward.

A patent is an exclusive set of rights granted for an invention, which may be a product or process that provides a new way of doing something or offers a new technical solution to a problem. In India, patents are governed by the Patents Act, 1970.  In most cases, a patent can protect an invention for up to 20 years.

Critical for innovation ecosystem:

  • Recognize and reward: As such they serve as an incentive for inventors to invent. With a patent, an inventor or small business knows there is a good chance that they will get a return on the time, effort and money they invested in developing a technology.
  • Research and development (R&D): The revenues generated from commercially successful patent-protected technologies make it possible to finance further technological research and development (R&D).
  • Commercialization of a technology: Holding a patent also makes a small business more attractive to investors who play a key role in enabling the commercialization of a technology.
  • Spark new ideas: The technical information and business intelligence generated by the patenting process can spark new ideas and promote new inventions from which we can all benefit and which may, in turn, qualify for patent protection.
  • No freebies: A patent can help stop unscrupulous third parties from free riding on the efforts of the inventor.

What can be done?

  • The government should partner with industry and academics to identify various issues and proactively address them. E.g. KAPILA (Kalam Program for IP Literacy and Awareness).
  • Clear incentives should be provided to firms to invest in research and development through safeguarding their property and innovation.
  • Public awareness should be created about the economic, social and cultural benefits of patents among all sections of society.
  • India should consider adopting a petty patents regime that provides limited protection to minor incremental innovations made, especially those by MSMEs, often called jugaad.
  • There is a need for fixing procedural shortcomings to ensure ease of patent registration. E.g. the patent office is currently understaffed in terms of the number of examiners.
  • A one-size-fits-all standard of inventiveness cannot be applied to patent applications.

Patents are important not only for individuals or an organization but for the whole of humanity. Thus the need of the hour is to balance between profits of the organization and needs of the poor through a robust Patent Regime.

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