International patent applications from India rose 27.3 per cent to 611 during 2003 with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd and Hetero Drugs topping the list of applicants from the country.
The total number of applications received by using the Patent Co-operation Treaty was estimated to have decreased to 110,114 in 2003, compared to nearly 115,000 in 2002.
Number of applications from developing countries, however, rose 11 per cent to around 5,950 in 2003 with India and South Korea pushing up the average.
South Korea with 2,947 applications topped the list of developing countries, followed by China (1,205), with India in the third place.
But India's PCT applications growth rate was lower in 2003 compared to 51.9 per cent rise in international patent applications in 2002. Trade experts said that a majority of the 611 applications filed were for process patents.
CSIR and Ranbaxy also found a place in the top 10 international patent seekers from developing countries. Korean electronic giants LG and Samsung topped the list followed by CSIR in third place and Ranbaxy in the fifth.
Hetero Drugs was placed in seventh position among the top patent seekers from the developing world.
In the global sweepstakes, Japan overtook Germany as the second largest international patent applicant. The US maintained its lead at the top slot with 39,250 applications or 35.6 per cent of the applications filed by the PCT's 123 signatories.
Japanese organisation filed 16,774 applications while German outfits filed for 13,974 patents followed by the United Kingdom (6,090), France (4,723), the Netherlands (4,180) and South Korea.
Of the 110,000 applications filed, 13.2 per cent or 14,195 were for inventions in the medical and veterinary science category which includes items like diagnostic apparatus, followed by 8.7 per cent for electric communication techniques, instruments for computing, calculating and counting (7.7 per cent), basic elements (6.2 per cent), 5.8 per cent or 6,240 for organics and instruments for measuring and testing (5.5 per cent).
50 patents filed from AP
A long drawn-out campaign to promote an IP culture by the Intellectual Property Rights Facilitation Cell, working under the aegis of the Andhra Pradesh Technology Development and Promotion Centre, has resulted with around 50 patents filed in the last two years.
Another 20 patents have been lined up for patenting this year. An interesting phenomenon has been that individual entrepreneurs have come forward to seek patent protection for their inventions.
The IPR Cell has its genesis in the visit, two years ago, by chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu along with industries secretary B P Acharya and others to the World Economic Forum meet in New York.
The foreign investors impressed upon Naidu the key role IPR protection laws played in instilling confidence among them.
While IPR is a union subject, the state government went ahead and brought together the state machinery and the Confederation of Indian Industry to set up an IPR cell for the creation of a strong IPR base in the state.
Thus was born the IPR Facilitation Cell under the auspices of the APTDPC in July 2002.
The cell, which has its extension cell at the ICICI Knowledge Park on the outskirts here, is at present headed by K Subhodh Kumar, the counsellor (technology) of CII's Andhra Pradesh chapter. Kumar also oversees the activities of APTDPC.
Speaking to Business Standard on the activities of the IPR Facilitation Cell and APTDC, Kumar said the cell had already networked with IPR experts across the country to help the industry and the entrepreneurs in the process of seeking patents.
However, the only limitation it was facing was complacency and ignorance among the public and the industry in the state. Even the national scenario did not appear to be better, he said.
He pointed out that while there were hardly 50 good IPR professionals in the country, equally appalling was the ignorance about IPR among the industry and the government, even after a decade since signing of the TRIPS (trade-related intellectual property rights) agreement.
A techno-legal subject, professionals in patent process need to be proficient in science as well as law, Kumar said, adding that there are very few universities in the country offering specialised courses in it.
He observed that the government should also pitch in with policy support and create an IP department, while the industries needed to set up their own IPR cells.
Finally, as in abroad, an effective IPR protection would take place only with the active involvement of all concerned -- public, industry and government.
Apart from awareness programmes and rendering help in patent filing, the IPR Cell had also decided to obtain patent rights for the world-famous Pochampally handiworks from the state.
Referring to APTDPC, Kumar said the organisation, set up by the AP government, CII and Technology Information, Forecasting & Assessment Council (Tifac) in 1998, was striving to meet technology needs of SMEs and entrepreneurs in the state.
Modelled after The Steimbeiss Foundation in Germany, APTDPC had so far extended concept-to-commissioning support for several projects.