Campus Connect: Pune institutes’ IPR delivery rate not up to passing mark

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In a world full of technological advancements, protecting one’s intellectual innovation has become the need of the hour, say Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) experts. Despite the growing need, they further point out the lacunae of awareness about IP in the city and the reluctance of educational institutions to encourage research students to file patent applications for their work.

A number of organisations like IP Facilitation Centre for MSMEs and Legasis Services have been making strides to spread awareness about patenting through short-term workshops in colleges and universities.

According to one of the IPR consultants, Prayank Khandelwal, the perspective towards filing patents needs to change for research to be both commercially and academically protected.

An alumni from the College of Engineering Pune,Khandelwal shared that his ignorance about IPR led him to venture into the sector.“When I was a student, I had no idea about IPR. It was only later when I got a full scholarship to studyadvanced cyber security and business entrepreneurship at Tel Aviv University (TAU) inIsrael, that I was truly introduced to the concept. Later, after joining Legasis, I saw the lack of knowledge spread wide across the country, especially in Pune.”

Only a few institutes in the city, likeIndian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune,College of Engineering Pune (COEP),Vishwakarma Institute of Information Technology (VIIT),All India Shri Shivaji Memorial Society’s College of Engineering,Indira College of Pharmacy, Cummins College of Enginneering and Sadhu Vaswani Institute of Management Studies for girls, currently have operational IPR cells.

Dinesh Kamble, professor at VIIT, added that the pending period of at least four years or more, often works as a deterrent to filing a patent. Agreeing, deputy director of COEP, BN Chaudhari, said,“My own research patent was filed in 2012 and am still waiting for the grant. The procedure is extremely slow.”

In the last five years, while 50 patents have been filed from COEP, only nine have been granted; and for VIIT, out of 10 patents only two have been granted till date. The number is similarly low for IISER Pune, where out of 20 patents, only one has been granted.

In agreement to the situation, Khandelwal said,“This is because India has few patent examiners as compared to the number of patent applications each year. Approximately 500 examiners have to look through over 80,000 applications each year, thus increasing the wait period.” In India, the average time for an exam report to be submitted three years, while it is two-and-a-half months in the US and 19 months in Japan, informedKhandelwal.

Patent or open source?

Despite being an education hub,IPR consultant Prayank Khandelwal says that a number of institutes are not very proactive in filling for patents or creating separate IP cells.“During my work, I have been told by a few R&D deans that they were against patenting as it would establish monopoly of the creator to the technology or science. They were supporters of open source, which is fine. But, this perspective is rooted in misconceptions. A patent gives the right to the creator of the property for a set period of 20 years, which means for those many years s/he has the sole authority over the piece of innovation. After 20 years, it is free in the public domain, to be used by anyone or any institution for varied purposes.”

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