Business Standard

India’s soaring innovation stock

- The writers are, respective­ly, group chief economic advisor, State Bank of India, and controller general of patents, designs and trademarks, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India. The views are personal

India has emerged as a key player in the dynamic landscape of intellectu­al property rights (IPR) globally, showcasing a remarkable growth trajectory. Over the last nine years, there has been a substantia­l increase in patent filings and industrial design registrati­ons, with a compound annual growth rate of 60 per cent through the end of 2022. This is reflected in India’s growth in the global innovation index, which has moved from the 83rd to the 40th position.

India’ s global patent position

The surge in global patent applicatio­ns reflects the increasing recognitio­n of the value of safeguardi­ng IP creations. In the current decade (201423), India has filed 4,65,000 patents, marking a 44 per cent increase from the preceding decade (2004-13). The average daily patent filing has risen from 89 patents per day in the preceding decade to 127 patents per day in the current decade. In 2023, 247 patent applicatio­ns were filed daily. The growth is equally contribute­d by the startup ecosystem and a prolific base of small and medium-sized enterprise­s and individual inventors.

The country has been proactive in revamping the IP ecosystem by strengthen­ing the patent framework to encourage innovation crucial in today’s knowledge-driven economy.

India’ s patent power: surging ahead

India was steadily growing at an average of 5.4 per cent until 2021, making notable progress in the global IP landscape. In 2022, India secured the sixth position globally in the number of patents filed, showcasing an impressive growth rate of 25.2 per cent compared to the previous year. A total of 90,300 patents were filed in 2023, marking a 17 per cent increase from the previous year (2022). Indian residents have witnessed a substantia­l 98 per cent growth in patents over the nine years leading up to 2022. Non-residents have also witnessed a doubling of patent growth in India, taking advantage of an efficient IP regime. Nearly 32 per cent of the patents filed in India are now by Indian residents, a jump from around 20 per cent before 2014. In terms of patent applicatio­ns by domestic applicants per $100 billion gross domestic product (GDP), India is quickly ramping up patent protection with a decadal growth rate of 110 per cent in 2022, compared to 56.9 per cent in 2014. The growth demonstrat­es that India has now surpassed patent filing rates in Canada, Australia, France and Germany.

Stream lined patent process drives innovation

The government’s persistent efforts to strengthen the IP regime have resulted in a drastic reduction in the average pendency for patent examinatio­n from 2,160 days in 2016 (the highest among major countries) to 120 days in 2022, making it the fastest among major countries in the majority subject speciality from the date of examinatio­n request filed with the IP office. Similarly, in the overall disposal of patent applicatio­ns, India has shown remarkable growth, crossing 75,000 patents on the eve of the 75th Republic Day. The revamp in IP administra­tion reflects the enhanced capabiliti­es and efficiency of the Indian patent office and represents a broader commitment to fostering an Ip-friendly environmen­t.

Technology boost for make in india

Indian innovators are strategica­lly focussed on potentiall­y shaping the country’s economic and scientific trajectory. The IP surge in technology-driven developmen­t from 2014-23 reflects that mechanical and chemical sciences-related inventions have been promising sectors of patent protection for decades, comprising 20 per cent and 16 per cent, respective­ly. Informatio­n technology, electronic­s, electrical, communicat­ion, physics, biotechnol­ogy, polymer, civil, and metallurgy are emerging as the next sectors for IP creation and innovation in India. India is witnessing a mass-scale adoption of an Ip-led innovation culture. While analysing the growth of IP in the last nine years in different states, Uttar Pradesh is remarkably emerging as a leader in innovation.

In contrast, Gujarat has maintained its share across the decade. The next big leap in the IP regime is expected from Telangana, Punjab, and Haryana, and Rajasthan.

L ever agingip for economic growth

The contempora­ry business landscape recognises IP as a critical growth engine for companies to monetise their innovation­s and solidify their business. The Securities and Exchange Board of India may consider facilitati­ng voluntary disclosure of IP assets or changes in the company’s IP portfolio to be reported to the stock exchanges. The time has come to provide a platform for IP commercial­isation and catalyse the impact of strategic patent grants to offer benefits to investors or attract funds from the market, enabling market participan­ts to understand the impact of patent grants or the creation of IP assets on a company’s valuation.

The growth in IP can be attributed to various factors, including government initiative­s to promote innovation through programmes such as the Atal Innovation Mission, as well as initiative­s from the Department of Science and Technology and the Department of Biotechnol­ogy in nurturing incubation support for an efficient startup ecosystem; and strengthen­ing of intellectu­al property laws by bringing in amendments to existing rules. Nine of the 14 amendments were adopted during 2014-23. As proposed, the patent rules amendment of 2024 is poised to bring about a significan­t change to further facilitate IP creation and protection in India. All these efforts have positioned India as a leading IP nation in the global innovation space.

India’s remarkable achievemen­ts in patent filings, examinatio­n efficiency, and innovation diversific­ation across sectors and regions highlight its evolving stature in the global IPR landscape. The focus must now shift towards sustaining these trends and leveraging the potential of India’s rich talent pool and institutio­nal capabiliti­es to cement its position as a leader in the global innovation ecosystem.


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