Compiled by: Sachi Kapoor | Concept & Edited by: Dr. Mohan Dewan

Innovation is directly proportional to Research & Development taking place in a country and Patents are a direct result of such innovations.

In the year 2016, patent applications filed by the top 5 nations were as follows:


No. of Applications







Republic of Korea


EPO (European Patent Office)


Patent filings in India since 2010 to 2017 have been as follows:


No. of Applications















Observing the table above it can be concluded that the patent filings have not seen a significant increase, in fact the filings have seen a drops and are practically at a standstill. Thus it can be summarized that innovation in India has not grown in spite of the various schemes started by the Government. Moreover, the number of filings taking place in China, compared to that in India, throws a light on the lag in innovations in India. Qualcomm, an American based semiconductor and telecommunications company alone submitted nearly 1,800 patent applications in India, whereas the Chinese company Huawei was ranked number one for filing the maximum number of patents in the European Patent Office, nearing 2,388 patents. Huawei is now expecting to invest between $10 billion and $20 billion in R&D annually in the years to come. Multi-national companies such as Canon Inc. of Japan, Samsung Electronics of the Republic of Korea and Japanese companies including Panasonic, Toshiba and Toyota Jidosha are among the top patent filing companies around the globe. No Indian company is a part of this list.

Where are we going wrong? India spends merely 0.63% of its GDP on R&D, on the other hand, countries such as China spend more than 2% of their GDP on R&D, Korea spends more than 4%, and Germany spends around 3% on R&D.

According to reports, the United States of America produces 95,000 graduate engineers annually, whereas in India there are 3,288 Engineering Colleges recognized by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) which churn out nearly 1.5Million Engineers per year. Among these 1.5 Million Engineers, it has been further reported that, a significant chunk is not employable in research or even in the industry based on their basic degree and the apparent lack of an inquisitive mind. The creamy layer usually chooses a Post-graduation program overseas and is later absorbed into several high profile jobs outside India. This leads us to our next big concern – Quality. The focus in India appears to be on quantity instead of quality. It is imperative for educational institutes and Private Enterprises to focus on R&D in order to bring out not only a qualified individual but also an inquisitive mind among these budding professionals, only then will we be able to have high quality professionals. The Educational institutes need to ensure an application based learning instead of rote learning.

Need of the hour: The Government practice to shield Indian companies has lulled them into a slumber and they appear to remain content in their comfort zones. Instead, a competitive spirit must be instilled in order to promote R&D. This will lead to the recruitment of skilled researchers and stop the brain drain from the country. This would be a step towards innovation, resulting in an increase in Patent applications being filed. This will also help India, currently ranked at the 57th position, to climb up the ladder with respect to the Global Innovation Index (to know more, read our newsletter covering Global Innovation Index, dated August 18, 2018).

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