Saturday, February 20, 2010

Patents from India: Broad trends over the past 35 years

At an organization level “Number of patents filed” isn’t a perfect metric for its innovation stamina (see Edison and the patent paradox and how George Eastman of Kodak resolved it). However, “number of patents” is considered a good proxy for the innovation capacity at a national level. World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) data reveals that during 2009 India filed 761 patents as compared to China (7,946), US (45,790), Japan (29,827), Germany (16,736) and South Korea (8,006). One way to cheer up is to look who is behind. After India, we have Singapore (594), Brazil (480), South Africa (389) etc. IIMB Professor Rishikesha T. Krishnan has done a good job in analyzing India’s patent performance over the past 35 years in his new book: From jugaad to systematic innovation. Let’s look at the broad trends presented in the book.

· The number of patents granted between 1995 and 2008 is about eleven times that between 1976 and 1994.

· MNCs accounted for a little over half the patents in both periods. However, MNC patenting in the earlier period was largely (71% of MNC patents) in Chemistry related areas (primarily pharmaceuticals) while it was primarily in IT related areas (69% of MNC patents) in the later period.

· Indian companies accounted for just 7.5% of all patents in the earlier period but account for 16% in the later period. Indian corporate patenting has been primarily in the Chemistry-related areas (82% of all patents awarded to Indian companies in the later period).

· Indian research and academic institutions accounted for a little over 10% in the earlier period, but for as much as 22% in the later period. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is the top holder of US patents from India with about 990 patents granted between 1995 and 2008. The Indian company with the maximum number of patents has only one-tenth as many as CSIR. CSIR has received more patents than all the top 20 Indian corporate patenters together.

· Top 10 MNCs patenters from India for 1995-2008 period are General Electric (359), Texas Instruments (309), IBM (246), ST Micro (119), Cisco (76), Symantec (74), Intel (73), HP (57), Broadcom (55), Honewell (51)

· Top 10 Indian corporate awardees of US patents for 1995-2008 are Dr. Reddy’s Lab (98), Ranbaxy (83), Dabur (37), Indian Oil (33), Biocon (28), Orchid (28), Lupin (22), Sasken (21), Wockhardt (19), Reliance (19).

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