Why Indian Companies need to file more patents!

Crisis is a trigger for innovation, mainly because doing nothing is not an option. The current situation is no different where every country is fighting the Covid-19 pandemic which has put the global economy at a halt.

Emerging Technologies leading the innovation front specially in the post COVID era

Innovation during the times are mainly focused on two key things:

1) The vaccine which will act as a cure for the virus!

2) How can we survive with the virus!

Apart from Covid-19 being the cause, there is one thing which is common with both the innovations i.e. the use of technology specially emerging technology.

There has been numerous inventions that have come to fore since the advent of Covid-19 where emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and Cloud.

One such key technology that has been gaining prominence and is bound to play a significant role in the post COVID world is IoT.

According to NASSCOM’s recent report “IoT: Driving the Patent Growth Story in India”, the global IoT spending is expected to increase at a CAGR of 8.1% to cross the one trillion mark by 2023. Moreover, the new sectors which will see an increased usage of IoT in order to achieve the new normal includes:

  • Healthcare
  • Disaster Prevention
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Manufacturing and Supply Chain

Increased innovation driving the growth in patent filing

With increased innovation there has been an increase in the number of patents filed in the IoT domain in India, which have witnessed significant growth with over 5,000 patents being filed in the last five years (2014-19).

Source: NASSCOM’s IoT: Driving the Patent Growth Story in India

Learning for Indian Companies

Though, the IoT patent filing trend has seen continuous uptrend more than 70% of these patents have been filed by MNCs with Indian companies accounting for ~7% of the total patent filing over the last decade.

Source: NASSCOM’s IoT: Driving the Patent Growth Story in India

Also, IoT is just one example and this trend holds true at an overall country level. According to Intellectual Property India’s 2017/18 annual report, which highlights a similar trend:

Number of Patent Filed in India (Share)

2016/17 2017/18
Foreign Applicants Filing 32,225 (70.9%) 32,304 (67.5%)
Total Patent Filing 45,444 47,854

Source: Annual Report 2017-2018, Intellectual Property India


What this highlights is the lack of awareness among Indian Companies on the importance of patent filing and the need for the whole ecosystem including government, industry bodies, the Patent Office in India to create that awareness.

  • Even if we look at the top filers in India they are mainly the big companies, with MSMEs and start-ups having a very small share
Number of Patent Filed by Indian –   Startups

(Share in total)

Small Entities

(Share in total)

2016/17 160 (0.4%) 412 (0.9%)
2017/18 511 (1.1%) 491 (1.0%)

Source: Annual Report 2017-2018, Intellectual Property India

Considering that in mind NASSCOM recently conducted a webinar focused on “Why Indian MSMEs need to file more patents” (Link to recorded webinar) which talked about the:

  • The trends in IoT patent filing in India.
  • How a robust IP filing strategy can add more value to businesses
  • Various benefits for MSMEs and Start-ups from the patent filing perspective.

The new definition of MSMEs and benefit schemes for patent filing are encouraging steps to push patent filing in India. However, what remains a key miss is the lack of awareness among Indian companies on the importance of IP creation.

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