Indian institute of Science, Bangalore tops the list of institutes with patent stockholding
WHEN the patented research output with social impact is considered worthwhile by commercial units, they collaborate with research institutions, says Prof. N. Satyamurthy Director, IISER Mohali, when quizzed about the role of IP in enhancing universities’ standing. It is prestige, relevance and role that drive an average Indian academic rather than making money on a large scale. So they do publish heavily, do a bit of industrial consultancy, but patenting still does not appear to be the core of their concerns.
India is a new comer to the patenting game. As the country, until early 2000, had a process patent regime in place, it also played a role. It is only of after Dr. R. A. Mashelkar, who aggressively promoted patenting culture as Director General, CSIR that Indian institutions began to look at patenting a little more carefully. It is no wonder that CSIR labs continue to be largest patent stockholders in the country.
“What patenting does is to instil in the minds of the researchers the discipline to codify and present knowledge with an application-orientation, helping researchers produce knowledge that has direct applications”
Patent stock versus patents filed
Patenting activity for long was the preserve of a few elite public sector institutions in the country and the scenario has been very slow to change. There is not a single private sector player in the Top 10 patent stockholders in the country. Interestingly, unlike the West, where medical schools dominate the patent game, only three out of the top 10 institutions belong to the medical sector in India. An unlikely entrant is the Forest Research Institution at Dehradun, which stands at number ten. The gap between the best and rest is quite wide when it comes to patent holdings. The next 10 players collectively do not own more than 34 patents, the number held by No.1 player IIT, Bombay. As one moves further down, the stockholding languishes at 1s and 2s.
When it comes to patent filing, the scenario remains the same. Nine out of the top 10 players still are in the public domain, though the first position goes to Amity University, a private player. And 10 out of the top 50 are in the private sector, though the number of patents filed is in single digits beyond the top most players.
Patent before you publish
In an email interview, Dr Ashok Kumar Chauhan, President, Ritnand Balved Education Foundation, the umbrella organization for Amity institutions, speaks about the importance of patenting â¦
Q. What made you focus on patenting most of the research at Amity?
A. Thanks to my 28 years stay in West Germany (now Germany) and intensive engagement in research, I saw that brilliant and innovative brains from India were publishing a large number of papers, whereas scientists in the western world give a lot of emphasis on patenting the innovative ideas and know-how and then offering the same for commercial utilization, thus, adding substantial revenue to their earnings as a faculty member.
After the establishment of Amity universities in India and having a large number of scientists and innovators as its faculty members, I brought in the culture of first patenting the innovative idea to get the protection on know-how and then publish.
Q. Does the possibilities of monetization of patents excite you?
A. Revenue generation is important. The salaries of the teaching faculty have been considerably increased, but still I find a lot of discrepancy between the salaries, which such highly qualified faculty members would get as remuneration in industry, and the corporate world. Now the question was, how to narrow down the difference in emoluments between the teaching faculty and the industry, corporate world employees. Consulting could have also been a source of revenue generation but consulting is not so prevalent in India. The only way lef t was to file a patent for the know-how and then commercialize the know-how, which brings substantial monetary gains. This also leads to the retention of brilliant brains in teaching profession, and further, it adds to their joy and satisfaction.
Q. Why do you think the disparity must be addressed?
A. If the disparity between the earnings cannot be addressed, then it would lead to moving of brilliant brains from academics to industry and corporate world, which would lead to dearth of good teachers, adversely affecting the nation’s human resource development.
The nation as a whole is yet to understand the importance of patenting. Though world over nearly 95% of the patent holdings, especially at the university level, do not result in a direct commercial value, institutions still build sizeable patent holdings so as to ring fence and create value for their knowledge holdings as a whole. At times a combination of patents might bring a windfall to the holder. But what patenting does is to instil in the minds of the researchers the discipline to codify and present knowledge with an application-orientation, and that goes a long way in helping the researchers produce knowledge that has direct applications and is useful.India has just stepped into the arena, and institutions here have a long way to go. But a good beginning appears to have been made.
Status of patents filed
Degree awarding institute
Amity University, Noida
Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay
Indian Institute of Technology, Madras
Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur
Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore
National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, Mohali
M S Ramaiah School of Advanced Studies, Bangalore
National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi
Parul Institute of Engineering and Technology
Central Power Research Institute, NCR
Status of patents granted
Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
SreeChitraTirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram
All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi
Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi
Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi
Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai
Forest Research Institute, Dehradun
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