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02.07.18

Patent Filings in India Are Declining, Just Like at the European Patent Office

Posted in Asia, Patents at 3:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The European Patent Office (EPO) has just lowered prices in an effort to artificially ‘correct’ the numbers

Press in India

Summary: India is rejecting patent maximalism and the number of patent filings has in fact just gone down; this does not mean that innovation is declining, as the number of granted monopolies (often given to foreign entities) does not represent innovation

UNLIKE European (including EPO) patent offices and the USPTO, CIPO etc. the Indian patent office miraculously managed to say “No!” (unlike BRIC's Brazil) to all sorts of patents, including software patents, which are not allowed in India. India’s patent policy is generally modeled around the interests of India. Unlike the EPO's controversial patents that prevent cancer treatment (the US has some famous Supreme Court cases about that), in India there’s a limit which is often guided by ethics. With a generics-based economy (exports too), India works towards elimination of ‘drug taxes’ and patents on life-saving treatments (here is a new example of patents on cancer treatment).

IAM, having shamed and mocked India (many times in the past year alone, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]) for maintaining a strict patent policy, now notes that “patent filing slips in India,” then spinning that in all sorts of creative ways:

The next annual report for India’s Patent Office will show that applications declined in the most recent fiscal year. But preliminary numbers revealed last week indicate that a recent boost in manpower is pushing both examinations and grants upward.

Another misleading new article said (in the headline) that “patents filings prove Indian start-ups are no longer copycats,” basing this assertion on the following statistics: “Indian start-ups filed a whopping 909 patent applications in 2017, up nearly 15 times from the meagre 61 filed a year earlier, per Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion data.”

But patents for startups do not prove that they “are no longer copycats.” The author ought to open up a book and study what patents actually are. What the numbers may serve to show is that India, where patents have historically been granted to foreign entities (a lion’s share of them), is now granting more patents to local firms. This is the kind of thing that a country ought to do for digital/technological/scientific sovereignty.

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