IITS, IISC lead race for patents in 2018, says HRD

Among other institutions that have fared well are IIT Kanpur with at least 51 patents, IIT Hyderabad with 20 and IIT Kharagpur with 17, according to figures available with the HRD ministry.
According to latest data available with the human resource development (HRD) ministry, IIT Madras leads the race with 132 patents.(HT File Photo)
According to latest data available with the human resource development (HRD) ministry, IIT Madras leads the race with 132 patents.(HT File Photo)
Updated on Dec 01, 2018 07:46 AM IST
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New Delhi | ByAmandeep Shukla

The Indian Institutes of Technology in Bombay, Madras and Delhi, along with the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, are at the forefront of centrally funded technical institutes leading in research and innovation this year with three having registered at least 100 patents each and the fourth four shy of the century mark.

According to latest data available with the human resource development (HRD) ministry, IIT Madras leads the race with 132 patents filed by its students and faculty this year. IIT Mumbai is second with 104 patents as on November 25; IISc Bangalore is close behind with 101 patents; and IIT Delhi has registered 96 patents.

Officials familiar with the matter said only three institutes had crossed the century mark last year, with IIT Mumbai registering 185 patents, IIT Madras 132 and IISc Bangalore 106.

However, the figures for this year are likely to climb as there is one more month to go and more data about patents will flow in, a senior official in the Prakash Javadekar-led HRD ministry said. For the first time, there is the possibility that four institutions will have 100 patents against their name in a single year, the official, who did not wish to be named, added.

Among other institutions that have fared well are IIT Kanpur with at least 51 patents, IIT Hyderabad with 20 and IIT Kharagpur with 17, according to figures available with the HRD ministry.

Among the National Institutes of Technology (NITs), the one at Suratkhal has 11 patents while the Calicut institute has 5 patents registered as on November 25 this year.

Other institutions that have registered patents include IIT Bhubaneswar (5); IIT Ropar and IIT Patna (4 each), Motilal Nehru NIT, IIT Dhanbad and IIT Roorkee (3 each); and the NITs at Rourkela, Warangal and Silchar (2 each). The IITs at Mandi, Jodhpur and Tirupati as well as the NIT at Patna have registered at least one patent each this year, according to HRD ministry data.

With the government stressing on high-quality research and innovation, the number of patents registered by centrally funded technology institutions has been rising, officials aware of the matter said. While 358 patents were registered in 2012, the count rose to 410 the following year but dipped to 385 patents in 2014. Another factor was that the patents were filed by only a handful of institutions, the officials said.

In 2015, the number of patents rose to 455. The following year, it jumped to 769 but dropped to 675 in 2017. The number of patents registered so far this year is 571 but is expected to go up by the end of December, a senior official said. Several of these patents have practical relevance, the official added. “IIT Delhi has acquired a patent for a device that detects mosquito eggs and larvae in water and will transmit the findings on a mobile. It can work wonders in controlling the spread of diseases like dengue or malaria. Another patent by Delhi IIT is for a device that can convert biogas into a fuel fit for industrial and commercial use,” he said.

Asked why other institutes were lagging behind the IITs and IISc in research, the official said while the IITs got into research in a big way a decade ago, other institutions focused on teaching and learning. The availability of funds for research is another issue, he added.However, the government is looking into all aspects and there is a conscious effort to improve research in all institutions, the official said.

Ashok Mishra, former director of IIT Mumbai, said, “An important aspect related to patents is also the acceptance. Pure ideas which may not have practical-commercial value may not succeed in the market. For some of the institutions like say, IIT Kanpur, the acceptance rate is quite high. Other institutes like NIT should also catch up with the leading IITs over time. What is needed is high quality research infrastructure, focus on high-end research and also a culture. There should be very good patent officers who are quick to spot that an idea is patentable.”

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