Mandeep Baweja, Managing Director India, CPA Global: India needs to create conducive environment for IP creation and protection
Since 2002, the number of patents filed in India has grown six-fold. (Photo: Monster)

Since 2002, the number of patents filed in India has grown six-fold.  In 2016, more than 45,000 patents were filed through the Indian patent system – an increase of 13% since 2010. The expected impact on future growth is very positive. A recent report also predicted that, by 2025, India’s innovation growth rate could surpass that of Russia. With the government of India taking steps such as Digital India and the Start-up India initiatives to nurture innovation and budding entrepreneurs, this growth is likely to continue but according to experts to achieve full potential, India needs to create a conducive environment for IP creation and enforcement. In an exclusive interview with TechObserver.in Sanjay Singh, , Managing Director India, said, “India’s focus on technology and innovation suggests that the country will be an increasingly significant player in the global innovation market. I expect that Innovation and IP will be at the heart of India’s future growth. But to achieve its full potential, India needs to create a conducive environment for IP creation and enforcement, and learn from other nations such as the United States, China, and South Korea to create the right ecosystem for achieving its goals.”

What is the state of the IP market in India currently?

It is strong, and it will only get stronger.  We have the benefit of a growing educated and technically literate workforce.  Ten years ago, the ambition of an Indian IT graduate might have been to work for Google, Microsoft or one of the other giants of the technology industry.  Today I believe that, for many, their ambition will be to create the next Google, Uber, Flipkart themselves. India is becoming increasingly entrepreneurial and the IP industry will play a huge role in making sure that those with the brightest ideas can monetise them, not only in India but globally.

What opportunities exist for Indian companies to exploit IP to grow?

One of the reasons why I believe India will be a huge powerhouse of innovation in the future is the sheer scale and size of the market.  The population of India is 1.3 billion people.  Put another way, one out of every seven people on earth lives in India. This provides a huge home market for companies to exploit.

More importantly, in the next decade, India will have over 200 million people categorised as middle class.  This is a huge population – larger than many countries – and will make India one of the most lucrative markets in the world. There is a need for home grown innovation to both satisfy the aspirations of this growing middle class and also drive up the overall volume of innovation.

Understanding the unique values and attributes of this market is something Indian entrepreneurs are perfectly positioned to do. Moreover, combined with government initiatives to grow innovation, this could be the perfect storm for an economy primed to grow through innovation.

How long does it take to get IP granted and what is the process?

Historically patents have taken five to seven years to be granted in India, and the process has been very complex. But last year, one patent was issued in only 113 days.  A 2016 provision under amended patent rules sought to fast-track the process by shortening the time between filing and publication.

The objective is to reduce the timescale to as little as two years for a typical patent and make IP protection simpler to achieve. This is important because, particularly in the digital age, businesses grow and globalise incredibly quickly.  Think of some of the biggest companies in the world: Facebook is 14 years old; Alibaba is only 19. Smartphone manufacturer Micromax is 18, whilst its competitors such as Vivo and Xiaomi are both less than ten years old.  In an environment where companies expand so quickly, the patent and wider IP system need to catch up.

What role does CPA Global play in the innovation agenda?

CPA Global supports innovation through two fundamental approaches. The first is providing software and services that make it easier for organisations to manage their complex IP portfolios and maximise the value of their assets.  CPA Global does this for some of the largest and most innovative companies in the world.

Secondly, we use patent and trademark data to help organisations get a clearer view of how to grow and develop. Insight from IP data can transform a business, helping to guide better investment decisions, drive improved profitability and increase company value.

How will things change in India over the next 10 years from an IP perspective?

Since 2002, the number of patents filed in the country has grown six-fold.  In 2016, more than 45,000 patents were filed through the Indian patent system – an increase of 13% since 2010. The expected impact on future growth is very positive. A recent report predicted that, by 2025, India’s innovation growth rate could surpass that of Russia.  A  recently released IMF Economic Outlook reported that the Indian economy is expected to grow at an annual rate of 7.4% in 2018, well above China’s at 6.6%, making India one of the world’s fastest-growing economies in 2018.

The government of India has been taking steps to support innovation further.  Digital India – the flagship government programme – will transform India into a digitally empowered society, and the Start-up India initiative aims to nurture innovation and budding entrepreneurs.

All of this suggests that the country will be an increasingly significant player in the global innovation market, backed by an educated workforce, a huge domestic market to exploit, and a government that is supportive of ideas creation.  I expect that Innovation and IP will be at the heart of India’s future growth in its ascendance to becoming a developed nation.

To achieve its full potential, India needs to create a conducive environment for IP creation and enforcement, and learn from other nations such as the United States, China, and South Korea to create the right ecosystem for achieving its goals.

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