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Where does India rank on the innovation front? Initiatives by government like the 'Make in India' and 'Digital India' might seemingly lead to a satisfactory answer for this. However, the numbers tell a different story.
An article in Livemint observes that India has continued to perform poorly on the innovation front. This can be said as the international patent applications filed from India has dropped in 2015 as against a year ago.
As per the latest figures released by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), India filed 1,423 international patent applications in 2015. This was as against 1,428 applications filed in 2014.
While the fall witnessed is marginal, it has brought much concerns. This is because while India saw a fall, other Asian countries such as China, South Korea and Japan have witnessed a notable increase in their international patent applications.
To be number specific, Japan has filed 44,235 international patent applications in 2015 as against 42,381 in 2014. China filed 29,846 applications in 2015 as against 25,548 a year ago. Further, South Korea filed 14,626 applications in 2015 than 13,117 in 2014.
From the aforementioned numbers, it can be seen that the numbers for patent filings in India has fallen. Not only that, but the application filings in India are far more lesser than the other Asian countries.
The factor responsible for India's underperformance, as per WIPO, is the Innovation policy. The organisation stated that the innovation policy in India is a complex matter and it doesn't produce immediate results.
The patent grant system in India is rather a slow process. Moreover, in the absence of a concept like the 'Patent term adjustment' followed in the US, filing a patent in India can diminish the prospects of a good return in good time.
As per Wikipedia, 'A patent application is a request pending at a patent office for the grant of a patent for the invention described and claimed by that application.'
Hence, a lesser number of patent applications mean less innovations made in India. And this is concerning as patent filings are a measure of the spread of science and technology in a country. Also, as per WIPO, 'Global intellectual property applications, like those of patents, trademarks and industrial designs, provide a good indication of the incidence and location of innovation'. In fact, India's performance has remained flat in patent applications filing in the past three years. And there is an urgent need for this to change for the development of the nation.
We believe that innovation can play a big role in the India of tomorrow. Also, for 'Digital India' and 'Make in India' to be successful, we first need to instill a robust culture of innovation in India. For this, innovation should be an area of focus with right investment policies. Further, Indian companies must increase their attention towards research and development (R&D) processes. Also, there should be advancement in education policy that nurtures innovative thinking.
The need of the hour is to foster innovation. India can't afford to merely catch up. It needs to drive its intent towards making innovation a key priority.
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