The utility of utility models in India


Pankaj Soni

Indian companies find themselves hamstrung by an inability to protect innovations and improvements to existing technologies. The time has come for a utility model regime, says Pankaj Soni.

India’s entry into the global intellectual property regime was intended to open avenues for innovation to one of the youngest workforces in the world—innovation spurred by a system of protection, enforcement and revenue generation. And, it did.

Patent filings by resident Indian entities between 2004 and 2010 almost doubled, from 3,630 to 7,044 applications. But the numbers also tell a different story—a story about how the domestic inventor is being left behind in this race for patent protection as multinational corporations lead the charge in obtaining coverage for their patents in India.

While the filing numbers are up, Indian applicants accounted for only 20 percent of patent filings in 2009/10. Given this lack of utilisation of the patent regime by the domestic inventor, the million-dollar question is: what can India do to spur domestic innovation?

Utility models, India, patents, innovation