- The article discusses about the patent regime in India and creating entrepreneurial ecosystem in Universities in India.
- Recent issue: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked all universities in India to set up Intellectual Property (IP) Centres, in its biggest push to create entrepreneurial universities.
- How Patents benefit universities:
- Patents help universities to improve their ranking, establish an innovation ecosystem, incubate knowledge-based start-ups, earn additional revenue and measure research activity.
- Patents and rankings:
- The number of patents applied for, granted and commercialised by universities and institutes is factored in in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF)
- The top ranked engineering institutes in India are also the leading filers of patents.
- The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), awards up to 24 points to an institute which sets up an innovation ecosystem and has a facility for identifying and promoting IPRs.
- The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) model curriculum for its member institutions lays emphasis on the need for IPR education in technical institutes.
- Challenge setting up IPR centres in universities:
- Human resources problem: Despite the policy push to have more IP, there is dearth of IP professionals in the country.
- This is because law schools and colleges are the only institutions which mandate teaching these subjects, thus supply of IP professionals is not keeping pace with demand.
- Absence of IP courses in Universities: Though online courses on IPR are available on the National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning platform much needs to be done to build capacity on IP in universities.
- Lack of patent agents:
- India has a poor patent agent density, with only about 2,000 registered patent agents currently in practice.
- The last time when the Patent Office conducted the patent agent exam, in 2016, around 2,600 candidates took it, a negligible number if one looks at the ambitious goals set by the IPR Policy.
7. Changes in IPRs since the introduction of National IPR Policy in 2016:
- The grants rates at the Patent Office have increased: In 2017-2018, there was a 32% increase in the number of patents granted compared to the earlier year.
- The Patent Office increased its workforce with the inclusion of 459 new examiners and is on the lookout for more.
- While the disposal rate has increased, the filing rate for patents has not changed significantly. In 2016-17, the Patent Office reported a dip of 3.2% in filing compared to the previous financial year.
- The timeline for filing responses to official objections for patents has been reduced by half.
8. Addressing problem:
- The ambitious goal set by India’s IPR Policy will be realised only when the examination becomes the foundation for making a career in IPR.
- There should be a push towards post-qualification continuous education in IP as well.
- To achieve this, the format, membership, syllabus and the frequency of the patent agent examination will need to be addressed.
- This will not only increase the number and quality of IP professionals in the country but also become a new career choice for graduates with a degree in science and technology.
9. About patents:
- A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides, in general, a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem.
- To get a patent, technical information about the invention must be disclosed to the public in a patent application.
- Government of India, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion grants the patents in India.