Centre Plans To Fund 10,000 Patents Every Year From Educational Institutions

Centre Plans To Fund 10,000 Patents Every Year From Educational Institutions

The government will soon launch a scheme to fund 10,000 patent applications every year from educational institutions, a top official said. The move is aimed at encouraging more students and faculty members to protect their intellectual property rights.

The aim of the scheme is also to help Indian higher education institutions to improve their rankings globally by performing well in the research and development category, officials said.

Under this scheme, faculty members and students from higher education institutions can seek government funding to patent their innovations,” said M Jagadesh Kumar, chairperson of the University Grants Commission. “Around 10,000 patent applications will be funded by the commission annually.

The higher education regulator will invite applications from students and faculty members in universities and colleges. “In our university system, we majorly focus on publishing papers. But today, the ecosystem has changed. We also need to protect our intellectual properties,” Kumar said. “Therefore, we are encouraging students and faculty members to go for patenting through this upcoming scheme.

The move to institutionalize funding for patents is welcome, said AK Prasad, chairperson of intellectual property rights at Delhi University. “This way the commercial value of the patent can be evaluated,” he said. “This may also help in commercialization of more patents.”

Filing patents can be costly. The cost of filing an Indian patent is between ₹10,000 and ₹15,000, but the cost of securing patents in countries such as the US can run into lakhs. Patent holders often have to also pay an annual maintenance fee for some 20 years.

The filing of patents is less of a problem than maintenance, Prasad said.

The moment a patent is filed, it requires a constant input of money because you will have to pay against every inquiry and revision. Once it is published, it requires a maintenance fee for around 20 years, and that maintenance is the major problem in our system,” Prasad said. “If you have a project, you can file a patent, but let’s say tomorrow the project gets over, then you can’t maintain it. The UGC should also cover maintenance under the proposed scheme.”

The education ministry has been emphasizing on patenting of innovations by students and faculty members in higher education institutions across the country. In May, education Dharmendra Pradhan in an address at a seminar at Delhi University said: “The times are changing. We are not being able to patent our inventions. Delhi University can start a short-term diploma course on the patent process.”

Over the past few years, while there is an upward trend of patenting in the Indian Institutes of Technology, other higher education institutions are still catching up.

The upcoming amendments in the Ph.D. regulations will also be recommending students and faculty patent their work, Kumar said. “While we are doing away with the mandatory requirement of publishing research papers in peer-reviewed journals for submitting the thesis, we are strongly recommending that students and faculty members should patent their innovations,” he said.

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