Education Ministry to soon launch national IP literacy initiative

The union ministry of education will soon be launching a national IP literacy initiative and is in talks with some other ministries in this regard, a top official said in an ASSOCHAM webinar on Wednesday.

“When we looked at our higher educational institutes, more than 95-97 percent of our institutes have never filed IP (intellectual property) ever, so we felt that if we have to create a culture of IP creation in these institutes we really need to ensure that we make them literate, train, hand-hold them within these institutes,” said Abhay Jere, chief innovation officer, Ministry of Education at ASSOCHAM’s 2nd IP Conclave & IPTSE Awards 2020 – Nurturing the Next Generation of Innovators through IP.

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He blamed the lack of an ecosystem to take the ideas forward logically and file them as IPs. “We in the ministry of education work with a large number of higher educational institutes which is over 45,000, within this country we have more than 10,000 technical institutes and 80 lakh students who are doing technology but unfortunately if you look at the IP filings which happens, it is far below the par as compared to our demographic dividend and what is achieved by our competing countries.”

Talking about the IP filings in other parts of the world he said that in China about 14 lakh IPs are filed on an annual basis followed by the US where they file about seven lakh IPs and in India, it is somewhere between 45,000-50,000, out of which may be around 30 percent are by Indians and remaining by NRIs (non-resident Indians).

“This needs to change, as we have 80 lakh students just studying technology and overall we have about 4 crore students who are pursuing higher education, but if you look at the IP which is coming from educational institutions is not more than 2,000-2,500 and these are getting generated in only top tier I organisations,” added Dr Jere.

Noting that the New Education Policy is making some radical changes he said, “We are now coming up with a national research foundation which is online with the National Science Foundation in the US to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in a right way in our educational institutes.”

Another important initiative, he said which the government has brought in and which is being currently hammered a lot on a large number of educational institutes is National Startup Policy for faculty and students.

“We have conceptualized this national innovation and startup policy because what we realized is that we have no clear incentivization for faculties and students who get into IP filing, entrepreneurship, converting those IPs into ventures, conversion of knowledge into wealth was not there, so we thought we really need to come up with policy and we unveiled that policy last year and now we are working very-very closely with a large number of universities and higher education institutes so that they can adopt these policies,” he said.

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Jere further informed, “Last week we trained about 1,500 faculties because to maintain IPs we need to ensure whether monetisation of IP is high which brings an intrinsic motivation for faculties and students to go ahead and pursue this path, so we have made major recommendations in this regard. One of the recommendations is that the institute or the university needs to budget heavily for IP filing.”

Talking about another initiative by the Education Ministry he said that to ensure that IP filing goes up they are training faculties as innovation ambassadors. “Till date we have trained about 6,000 faculties and when we are training them, one of the modules of these training is IP filing, management and how we can get it monetised.”

The Education Ministry will request the Prime Minister to address the innovation ambassadors, he said. “We believe that if we have to evolve as a knowledge-based society and economy then our higher educational institutes evolve as islands of innovation for which we need to ensure that innovation entrepreneurship ecosystem flourishes in these institutions and IP filing is going to be one of the important criteria for us.”

O P Gupta, controller general of patents, designs and trademarks talked about the need for nurturing the next generation of innovators. He urged the industry and academia to come up with some kind of scholarship scheme for meritorious students coming from lower-middle and poor backgrounds as they do not generally consider taking a risk associated with pure sciences and R&D activities and rather than take up a job opportunity immediately after graduation.

“A long-term perspective where industry supports the program and some scholarship can be instituted for top-level innovators, although government already gives a grant for PhD students but that is a kind of subsistence grant but some kind of a scholarship can be considered where innovators get these scholarships to support themselves till the time their innovation gets marketable products and enough support system starts coming,” said Gupta.

This will motivate a lot many young students and minds to take up this kind of activities and risks in their future life. He also said that while till about three years back in India it used to take even for an examination of patent application six-seven years and the whole process could take up to about 8-10 years but after the National IPR Policy was declared in 2016, the government has taken steps and made efforts to speed up the whole process.

“We are already examining applications today which were filed in late 2019 in certain technology fields as part of natural que. We have made available a whole aspect of expedited que for people who really need their innovations to be protected very quickly which includes entities like startups because their whole system relies on IP which needs to be protected in quick time,” said Gupta.

Courtesy: TOI

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