Punjab becomes hub for promoting innovation in India, centre opens
Win-win situation as scientists will be able to tailor their research to meet needs of the industry.punjab Updated: Dec 06, 2017 09:53 IST
“Mention the word ‘patent’ and people’s eyes glaze over. That is why I prefer to use the word ‘innovation’.”
Andrew Czajkowski, head of the innovation and technology support division of World Intellectual Property Organisation, a Geneva-based specialised agency of the United Nations, is all too aware of the general disinterest in the world of intellectual property rights.
This is why Czajkowski, who was in Chandigarh to inaugurate India’s first Technology and Innovation Support Centre (TISC) at Punjab State Council for Science and Technology (PSCST), was happy to see a large number of people associated with IPR (intellectual property rights) in the region. “We have 600 TISCs in 71 countries, but there are places where we had to start from scratch.”
It’s not so in Punjab. “We were selected for setting up TISC due to our work in the field of IPRs,” says Dr Jatinder Kaur Arora, executive director, PSCST, adding, “We have IPR cells in 14 universities of Punjab.”
INVENTORY OF INVENTORS
The council has also compiled a directory of inventors from the state titled ‘Inventory of Inventors’. It’s got a long list of inventions, which include a solar refrigerator, an earthquake alarm, a ‘bladder’ for inflatable balls, and a knee joint pain treatment using 32 plants.
While institutes such as Punjab Agricultural University and National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER)are among the top five in inventions, there are many village-bred Newtons as well with inventions such as a device to control headlights through vision.
Dr Arora is now working to take these inventions to the market. “We’ve floated a project to the central government in which we have proposed to identify the unmet needs of industry and secondary agriculture sector, and link these to research undertaken by various institutes.” This will be a win-win situation as scientists will be able to tailor their research to meet the needs of the industry.
SEARCH BEFORE RESEARCH
Czajkowski, who also addressed a two-day workshop on access to technology for innovation, told IPR coordinators from 14 universities and seven states across the region about the importance of doing a patent search before embarking on a research project. Likening the search to looking for a needle in the haystack, he said, “You need to know where to look and how to look. Often, people end up wasting their time and money by working on a breakthrough that has already been made,” he said. He recounted how a retired patent examiner from the UK found that a prospective research had been carried out by that very university a couple of years ago.
The participants learnt about PATENTSCOPE and Espacenet, the two free patent research databases of WIPO, besides other databases in India.
Gurharminder Singh, senior scientific officer and in charge of TISC, said he was particularly impressed with patent analytics. “It helps you find out what is trending in the field of research. It also gives you a chance to peek into the future.”
Czajkowski said the WIPO is now working on preparing two guides, one on identifying inventions in the public domain, and the other on using these for commercialisation.
IN SCHOOL SYLLABUS
All praise for the work being done by Punjab on IPR, Avipsha Thakur, assistant vice-president, Centre for Intellectual Property Assessment and Management (CPAM), government of India, said the government is working hard to create awareness at school level. “NCERT will include IPR in its syllabus for classes 11 and 12 from next year.”
The CPAM, which carries the tag line, ‘Creative India, Innovative India’, is also promoting GI (geographical indication) of local handicrafts, textiles and agri-products. “We have brought down the pendency for trademark applications from 13 months to a month ever since we were set up a year ago,” said Thakur.
The ministry of home affairs has also brought out a booklet for the police to enforce the IPR regime and tackle any violations.
Around 70 participants from seven northern states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir attended the workshop.
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), one of the specialised Geneva based organizations of UN, through its TISC program aims to provide innovators in developing countries with access to locally based, high quality technology information and related services, helping them to exploit their innovative potential and to create, protect, and manage their Intellectual Property Rights.