IISc and its Patent Prowess

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On 9th July, 2015, The Hindu reported that Indian Institute of Science (IISc) has made its way into the top five research and academic institutions in BRICS countries. The report mentions that IISc tops the list in terms of the number of research publications from an academic institution. It is noteworthy that seven institutions from China figure in the list. Team SiNApSE has earlier tracked news stories of IISc’s  intellectual property progress, and we felt that this would be a good time  to report the institute’s patent growth during the last five years.

The table below lists number of applications from 2009/10 till date filed by IISc. The data has been acquired from the annual reports of the  Indian patent office.

Year  Number of          applications
2009-2010             45
2010-2011             38
2011-2012             14
2012-2013             31
2013-2014             32

Since its inception in 1909 and formal initiation in 1911, the Indian Institution of Science has made phenomenal contributions to thought leadership and research in science and technology. Commonly referred to as Tata Institute, by virtue of being founded by Tata, the Institute has been rated as the 11th best institution in the world in 2014, and is considered as the best institution in the country for scientific and technical education. The institution houses twenty nine (29) departments and numerous research centers in fields ranging from biology to aerospace.

Over the years, IISc is credited to have made several telling contributions to the flow of knowledge in basic and applied research, but has not been able to make substantial progress from the intellectual property protection and commercialization perspective. For an Institute of its stature, IISc boasts of less than fifty patent filings every year, during the last five years. To make matters worse, the Institute has not been able to commercialize even five  percent of  its patent portfolio and has been struggling to take it’s research to the market.

The patent and commercialization tale of IISc is not very different when compared to Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), and other public funded research institutes in India. The lack of qualified professionals and organisations, limited commercialization resources, low quality of patents, lack of respect for intellectual property, and philosophical  issues are among some of the perceived reasons for the said situation. With emergence of new age IP professionals  with focus not just on protection and enforcement, but also on management and commercialization, and changing mind set of the top brass in research institutions, the next decade may well see a new IP era for IISc and other research institutions in India.

Source: here and here

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