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Indian scientists to focus on application-based research

In an effort to claim a large share of Asia’s dominance in science and technology, research organisations in India have decided to focus on application-based research that can be patented. Sanchita Sharma reports.

india Updated: Jun 18, 2008 22:49 IST
Sanchita Sharma

In an effort to claim a large share of Asia’s dominance in science and technology, research organisations in India have decided to focus on application-based research that can be patented.

“The overall number of patents filed under the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) rose 4.7 per cent to 156,100 in 2007, but the number of patents filed from India dropped from 831 in 2006 to 686 in 2007, which is a 17.45 per cent decline,” says a scientists from the Indian Council of Medical Research, India’s leading medical research organization. India retained the 20th position it had in 2006.

For the fourth consecutive year, the best performing countries from Asia were Taiwan, Japan and Korea, accounting for over a quarter (25.8%) of all international applications under the PCT.

Data from the from the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), which unlike WIPO’s report distinguish between mainland China and Taiwan, is even more revealing because it allows analysts to cover patent applications since 1965. It shows that though Asia is now the source of a third of the PTO’s patent applications, with the Asian surge being led by the continent’s smallest countries, Taiwan, Korea and Japan.

In fact, China’s good performance in the WIPO’s international ranking — seventh, as compared to India’s twentieth — is because of Taiwan. US PTO data show that Taiwan ranked fourth in the world with 7,491 patents in 2007, closely following world leaders US, Japan and Germany. Asian dragon China compared poorly with only 1,235 patents. Japan, Korea and Taiwan now account for well over half of all foreign patent applications at PTO.

A third of the patents filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office come from Asia, but India ranked twentieth with just 506 of the 89,239 patents filed in 2007. “Though India and China, the two emerging super powers in science and technology, have shown some growth, from 180 patent applications in 1990 to 6,000 in 2007, it is obviously not enough,” says the ICMR scientist.

The US leads the rankings for countries of origin for the patent applications, followed Japan, Germany, Korea, France, the UK, China, Netherlands, Switzerland and Sweden.