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India may gain access to Intellectual Property Exchange

India will soon have an Intellectual Property Exchange, similar to Hong Kong and United Kingdom, which will allow individuals as well as commercial entities in India and overseas to purchase and sell the IP rights across different sectors. The purchase and sale of intellectual property rights will be developed under the ministry of science and technology through the National Research Development Corporation. This idea was floated two months ago and has already got an in principle approval from the ministry. 

Intellectual property is about creativity, human imagination, and consists of inventions, designs, brands and artistic works. Intellectual property rights allow an individual to have exclusive rights to use their own plans, ideas or intangible assets for a specific period of time. Such rights can include patents, trademarks, copyrights as well as trade secrets.

The process of creation of the proposed IP exchange will take about 8-9 months due to the collection of data and setting up the exchange.Collecting the necessary data and information on patents filed across the world and on multiple technologies, will consume time. The patents are predominantly on agriculture and allied sectors. These IP rights are given by the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks. In 2015-16, India witnessed about 30% increase in the filing of intellectual property applications as compared to previous years. In 2015-16, 3, 41,086 applications were filed as against 2, 35,306 in 2011-12.

The idea behind the move is to exploit the commercial viability of patents in India, which normally get expired since there is no platform for purchase and sell. India has around 2 lakh patents that have the potential for commercialization. If the country can get a platform to commercialize the same, the reach of the patent will increase globally and it will generate revenue as well. The impact of this move will depend on the practical implementation of the same. It will reduce bilateral negotiations between parties and bring transparency in the buy and sell process.

The implementation of this move will not be easy. There will be challenges like tracking and verification of the patents being bought, sold and licensed. It will be important to thoroughly verify the patents before being put up on the platform. It is estimated that India’s research and development expense will reach $71.5 billion by 2016 as compared to $66.49 billion in 2015.

In 2015, India was the world’s sixth largest country in terms of research and development spending, which accounted for 3.53% of global R&D expenditure. The R&D spending in India is expected to grow from 0.9% to 2.4% of the country’s GDP by the end of 2034. There has also been an increase in the number of multinational corporations with R&D centers located in India. It grew from 721 in 2010 to 943 in 2016. The workforce in MNC R&D centers also increased in the past year. It reached 3, 63,000 and is estimated to increase to 3, 87,000 by the end of 2017 in India. 

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