In recent years, India has witnessed rapid changes in its patenting landscape as a result of the growing economic activity and reforms (related to patents).  In May 2008, Evalueserve, a global research and analytics firm, investigated the patenting landscape in India , focusing on the patent applications published over 2005–07.

Some of the key findings of the patenting landscape study over the past four years (January 2005 to December 2008) are listed below:

  • Reduced growth in patent filings: The number of applications filed by foreign applicants globally fell in 2008 because of the economic downturn. Since more than 80% of the applications filed with the Indian Patent Office (IPO) are from foreign applicants, the growth in IPO filings experienced over the past few years has slowed down considerably.
  • Top filers: Qualcomm has emerged as the top patent filer for the two consecutive years—2007 and 2008. General Motors, General Electric, Tata Group, LG Electronics, Research in Motion, 3M and Sony Ericsson have made huge gains in their 2008 rankings. The rankings of Philips, Bayer, Microsoft and AstraZeneca have slipped marginally.
  • Domestic pharma sector maintains its lead over other industries: A total of six domestic pharma companies found place in the list of top 100 filers during 2005–08. Among these six corporations, Ranbaxy Laboratories emerged as the top filer (rank 31), followed by Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories (rank 45) and Cadila Healthcare (rank 66).
  • Not much change in the domestic information technology (IT) sector: In the domestic IT sector, the number of published patent applications of Infosys and TCS increased in 2008. Infosys had 25 published applications in 2008 as against 19 in 2007.

Patent Application Filings at the IPO

During the past six years, the number of patent applications filed with the IPO has increased threefold. This has been primarily due to multinational companies setting up and expanding their markets in India.  The top 25 filers list includes 11 corporations from the electronics and telecom domain, and 8 from the pharmaceuticals and chemicals domain.

There is an increase in the number of applicants approaching the courts to enforce their patents or challenging the validity of patents, or even challenging the decisions of the IPO. Reports suggest that, in 2008, a number of patent-related cases were pending in various Indian courts; more than 175 cases were pending in the Delhi High Court, including Roche vs. Cipla.

Since patent life cycle spans 20 years, it is clear that Indian corporations need to formulate their patenting strategy carefully to stay competitive. This will entail creating more innovations, protecting all innovations with the relevant form of IP, respecting others’ IP and extracting value from own IP through licensing, commercialization and enforcement.

The above is from the article, “Patent Landscape in India Evalueserve White Paper October 2009,” and is used by permission.  The article is authored by Balwant Rawat, a Group Manager with the Intellectual Property (IP) Division of Evalueserve.

Evalueserve provides knowledge services to a global client base of Fortune 5000 companies, including Investment, Commercial and Retail Banks; Insurance Companies; Private Equity Firms; Corporates; Consulting and Research Firms; Law Firms and Intellectual Property Firms. Evalueserve’s expertise covers areas such as Financial and Investment Research, Business Research, Market Research, Intellectual Property, Data Analytics and Knowledge Technology Services.  The sole owner of copyright is Evalueserve and use of the protected material is by permission only.

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  5. Yes, Indian corporations DO need to formulate their patenting strategy carefully to stay competitive. Lot of great inventors are getting their dues…

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