There is a saying, either change or perish. Innovation is what separates the past and future, literally. As a developing country, India can’t afford to stay behind in the race for innovation.
There is no dearth of brilliant minds in our country, however, there is undoubtedly a need for a well-established ecosystem that can fuel innovation.
It appears that the government of India is well aware of it and is, therefore, actively taking necessary steps in this regard.
In this article, we will discuss many of such steps of the government of India. The scope of these steps covers schools, colleges, women, startups, MSMEs, and People with no formal technical education, various institutions through various awards, awareness programs, procedural support, financial support, infrastructure availability, mentoring support, policy formulation, etc.
The fruit of these steps is visible in the rising position of India in the global innovation index. However, a lot more is yet to be done.
Note: There is a lot that can be written about these initiatives by Indian Government but we have examined these schemes from the point of view of an innovator and how you as an innovator can benefit from them. For example: 1. What is the initiative about, 2. is there anything about patents in it, 3. how can it help you as an inventor, 4. how inventors can avail the benefits of the initiative?
Let’s get straight to the point.
1. Atal Innovation Mission (AIM)
Atal Innovation Mission is the Government of India’s flagship initiative set up by NITI Aayog in 2016 to promote the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship across the length and breadth of our country.
Objectives of AIM:
1. Develop new programs and policies for encouraging innovation in different sectors of the economy
2. Provide platforms and collaboration opportunities for stakeholders
3. Create an umbrella structure to oversee the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem of the country.
So, what are the initiatives taken under AIM?
1. Atal Tinkering Lab: Under this initiative, Atal Tinkering Laboratories (ATLs) are being established in schools across India.
It has already set up more than 10000 such labs with an objective to foster curiosity, creativity, and imagination in young minds.
This initiative aims to reach one million children in India and inculcate skills such as design mindset, computation thinking, adaptive learning, physical computing, etc.
2. Atal Incubation Center: To incubate start-ups and support entrepreneurs, AIM has been setting up world-class incubation centers at universities, institutions, and corporate among others.
3. Mentor India: This program is a voluntary national movement led by AIM. In this program, skilled professionals contribute to nation-building by mentoring young innovators free of cost.
4. Atal New India Challenge (ANIC): This is a flagship program of Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog.
Valleys of Death faced at early stage and at the commercialization stage in taking innovations to the market is long talked about by the experts. ANIC aims to address this issue.
Under this program, technology-based innovations are selected and nurtured. These innovations should solve challenges of national importance and societal relevance in a sector.
Innovations in the prototype stage from start-ups are sought under this challenge. Selected start-ups are supported for the next 12-18 months including financial grants up to INR 1 crore. Additionally, you can also leverage the ecosystem of AIM mission.
You can apply here on AIM website to take benefit of this program.
To enter into this challenge, having a patent or having a filed patent is an advantage.
Who can enter this competition?
Any Indian company (more than 51% stake held in India) incorporated under the Comapnies Act 1956/2013, primarily a MSME as defined in MSMED Act, 2006 and any start-up recognized by DPIIT can apply for the competition.
5. Atal Community Innovation Centre (ACIC): These centres have been launched to foster a spirit of entrepreneurship in the under-served/ un-served regions of the country. Mainly, it focuses on Tier-2 & Tier-3 cities.
These centres aim to provide infrastructure and an environment conducive to innovation.
More about these centres including how you can apply can be accessed here on AIM website.
6. Atamanirbhar Bharat Arise: This program is a national initiative to promote research & innovation and increase the competitiveness of Indian Startups and MSMEs.
Under this initiative, challenge statements are provided that focus on challenges faced by ministries in their work.
Selected proposals will be funded up to a maximum of INR 50 lakhs but in three installments/ tranches of 30%, 40%, and 30% of the total funding amount.
More about it can be found here on AIM website.
7. Vernacular Innovation Program(VIP): This initiative aims at decoupling creative expression from the language of transaction. In simple words, language should not put our genius minds at disadvantage.
India is a diverse country and it has multiple dialects and languages. However, this may pose a barrier to the innovation ecosystem.
For example, vernacular innovators may face barriers when learning design thinking and entrepreneurship, accessing markets, attracting investments, and influencing innovation policy.
A Vernacular Task Force (VTF) in each language has been formed to overcome said barriers. This VTF will create the necessary resources as well as ecosystem related activities.
Various programs are run under this initiative, For example, AIM-Prime Program, AIM iCREST, Youth Co:Lab, AIM-iLEAP, etc. You can access more details here on AIM website.
2. National Innovation Foundation (NIF-INDIA)
It’s the government of India’s initiative to strengthen grassroots technological innovations and outstanding traditional knowledge.
NIF looks for innovations that are developed by individuals, local communities, and students.
Some of its divisions are worth discussing from patenting perspective.
Intellectual Property Management (IPM)
NIF’s IP management division accepts innovations from various sectors namely engineering, human health, veterinary health, and agriculture.
Grassroots innovators and students (from IGNITE program) can submit their innovations/ ideas.
NIF’s IP management division actively provides support at various levels when it comes to protecting the idea with intellectual property rights (IPRs).
For example, to file a patent, NIF’s IP division conducts a prior art search, drafts the patent application, and files the patent application in India and in foreign countries depending upon the case.
In addition to the above services, the IP management division also coordinates with patent professionals in India and outside India.
It is clear to the people in NIF that only helping in getting a patent would not suffice. The idea has to be commercialized/ monetized. Therefore, they help the innovators in negotiating deals, drafting contracts/ licensing agreements, and also provide necessary legal assistance.
In some innovations, if any biological material from India is used then permission from National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) is required. NIF looks after this requirement by applying for the permission required on the innovator’s behalf.
Well, you may be wondering how you may take benefit from this program. Ideas are submitted through its portal here as shown in the snapshot.
As we have discussed in the previous section, the NIF strives to monetize innovations in the best possible way.
Innovations coming from the grassroots level are most practical, need-based, cost-effective, and sustainable-centric. The reason for saying so is that the people who have first-hand experience with the problems develop these innovations.
However, grassroots innovators can not scale their products in the market on their own. Neither they are capable of creating an ecosystem or value chain around their innovations. Here NIF comes into the picture through their business development division to tackle problems faced by innovators to get the best out of their innovations.
The services offered by the business development division of NIF are:
1. Business and Technology Mentoring
2. Business Promotion and Networking
3. Capacity Building and Skilling
4. Regulatory and Compliance Assistance
5. Technology Transfer and Commercialisation
6. Technology Prototyping and Validation
NIF gives two types of awards:
1. Biennial Awards
2. IGNITE awards
Entries for this award can be submitted by individuals or local communities e.g., a group of farmers, artisans, fishermen, students, workshop mechanics, etc.
Special awards are given for innovations by women. Women for their outstanding traditional knowledge are also given special awards under this program.
You don’t have to have a prototype to apply to this program. If you have a creative idea then you are encouraged to submit your idea.
These awards are specially reserved for children. These awards are known as Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam IGNITE Awards.
Who can apply?
- Those who are out of school: can apply up to the age of 17.
- Those who are in school: can apply up to class 12th (in this case, the maximum age is expected to be around 17-18 years)
No working model is required in this competition. In fact, NIF felicitates the development of a working model or prototype once selected.
Therefore, if you are a student with a creative idea in your mind, you are encouraged to submit your idea on the portal.
Grassroots Technological Innovation Acquisition Fund (GTIAF)
As we have discussed in previous sections, NIF looks to develop and support innovations so that the best can come out.
This fund is utilized to acquire innovation rights from the inventors. Then these technologies are licensed to small entrepreneurs at low or no cost.
In case, NIF is able to license the innovation to a third party at a higher sum, there are provisions for benefit sharing with innovators.
Under this program, innovators are also free to use their innovations to use in any way they want at their level even when the innovation has been licensed to NIF.
Note: Selected innovations are also considered for filing a patent.
National Intellectual Property Awareness Mission (NIAPM) was launched in December 2021 with the target of generating awareness among 10 lakh students by the 15th of August 2022. However, it achieved its target early by the 31st of July, 2022.
The government has decided to continue this flagship program.
Under this mission, awareness sessions are conducted across schools, universities, colleges, and institutions.
The mode of sessions is both online and offline. It has been really helpful in generating awareness in the country about intellectual property rights. Its coverage includes 28 states and 7 UTs.
Regarding NIPAM, we have written a detailed article that can guide you about various aspects of NIPAM and its benefits for you: What is NIPAM: All You Need to Know
4. Start-ups Intellectual Property Protection (SIPP)
The government of India understands the strategic business value of IPRs for start-ups. To fully support, Start-up India Program, the government has considered the need to protect IPRs.
Therefore, the SIPP scheme was envisioned and launched on a pilot basis in 2016. Later after its positive outcomes, the scheme was extended for a period of three years from 01/04/2017 to 31/03/2020 and further from 01/04/2020 to 31/03/2023.
Based on the experiences gained in running the scheme, the scheme has been amended in a few aspects. We will discuss the latest version of the scheme.
Objective of The Scheme
To promote awareness and adoption of IPRs amongst start-ups.
The scheme aims to provide assistance to start-ups in protecting intellectual property and subsequently commercialize it by providing access to high-quality IP services and resources.
Who Can Avail Benefits of The SIPP Scheme
Any start-up recognized in terms of the notification GSR 127(E) published in the Gazette of India dated 19.2.2019, as may be amended from time to time.
Note: 1. The certificate of recognition given by DPIIT can be verified from the startup India web portal. 2. The start-ups do not require to obtain a certificate of an eligible business from the Inter-Ministerial Board of Certification. However, self-declaration from start-ups would suffice to declare that they have not taken any funds under any other government scheme for the purpose of paying the facilitator/ patent agent/ trademark agent for filing and prosecution of their IP application.
As there are multiple schemes facilitating IP protection, there needs to be a prohibition on duplication of benefits.
How Does Empanelment of Facilitators Happen?
The government of India has empanelled the facilitators who will help the start-ups to file and prosecute IPRs.
Facilitators are empanelled and regulated by the CGPDTM. The list is revised from time to time by the CGPDTM.
The list of patent facilitators can be found here.
More about the SIPP scheme including the list of facilitators of patents, trademarks ,and designs can be found here on IPINDIA website.
Note: CGPDTM may remove the facilitator from the empanelled list if: 1. The startup complaints about the facilitator, 2. Facilitator refuses to provide services to the startup, 3. Some information of professional misconduct by facilitator is received.
Who Can Be A Facilitator
1. Any patent agent registered with the CGPDTM,
2. Any trademark agent registered with the CGPDTM,
3. Any advocate (as defined under The Advocates Act, 1961 who is entitled to practice law as per the rules laid down by the Bar Council of India from time to time, who is well-versed with the provisions of the relevant Acts and Rules, and is actively involved in filing and disposal of applications for trademarks)
4. A government department/ organization/ agency or CPSU (like TIFAC, NRDC, BIRAC, MeitY, CSIR, Patent Information Centres (PICs)) through an authorized representative; and Technology and Innovation Centres (TISCs) in accordance with DPIIT Notification No. 5/1/2017-CIPAM, dated 19.11.2018.
However, it is to be clarified that the IP application has to be signed by a person authorized to do so under the provisions of the relevant Act and Rules.
What Are The Functions And Duties of Facilitators?
The functions of facilitators are to be decided by the CGPDTM. In general, facilitators are responsible for the following:
1. On pro bono basis, to provide general advisory to Startups on different IPRs,
2. On pro bono basis, to provide information to Startups on protecting and promoting IPRs in other countries,
3. To provide assistance in filing and disposal of the IP applications related to patents, trademarks and designs at the national IP offices under the CGPDTM,
4. To draft provisional and complete patent specifications for inventions of Startups,
5. To prosecute i.e. to prepare and file responses to examination reports and other queries, notices, or letters by the IP office,
6. To represent the Startup at hearings in the IP office,
7. To contest opposition, if any, by other parties,
8. To ensure the final disposal of the IPR application.
How Much Fees Is To Be Charged By Facilitators
The facilitator shall not charge any sort of fee from the Startups.
The fees shall be paid directly to the facilitator by the Central Government through the office of CGPDTM. The amount shall be disbursed by respective IP offices under the office of CGPDTM.
The fees structure payable to facilitators is as per the table below:
Note: DPIIT is responsible to revise the fees from time to time.
How Can Facilitators Claim The Fees?
1. Facilitator can claim the fee from the IP office as per the stage of the work completed.
2. Along with the bill, the facilitator needs to submit a self-declaration from the concerned startup declaring that it has not availed any funds from any other government scheme for the purpose of paying the facilitator for filing and prosecuting their IP application.
3. The facilitator can get fees for filing the patent application and for the final disposal of the application. Therefore, if the application is abandoned or withdrawn before the disposal of the application then the facilitator shall be paid fees only for filing the application.
No money shall be paid for the disposal of the application.
4. To claim reimbursement, the facilitator needs to submit an invoice to the respective IP office. The invoice should mention the registration ID No. of the concerned Startup obtained from the DPIIT.
5. For trademark application, disposal means registration of the Trademark or rejection of the application (Except withdrawal or abandonment)
How Much Amount Is Charged From The Startup
Under the SIPP scheme, a Startup has to pay only The statutory fee payable for each patent, trademark, and design application. For the sake of clarity, what was the statutory fee after the launch of the scheme, that much is paid.
Who Owns The IPR
IP shall be fully owned by the Startup.
In no way, the government or the facilitator shall own the IP generated through this scheme (SIPP).
More about the SIPP scheme including the list of facilitators of patents, trademarks ,and designs can be found here on IPINDIA website.
If you want to get more into the details of this scheme then apart from the link shared above of IPINDIA, you can refer to this document. In this document, details about the SIPP scheme are in the form of an answer to a question asked in LokSabha.
Startup-India is an initiative of the Government of India launched on the 15th of August 2015 by Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.
According to the spirit of this article, we will see this initiative from the perspective of IPRs. So, how does startup India Initiative helps entrepreneurs in the field of IPR?
1. Under this initiative, the government through DPIIT recognizes startups and provides recognition certificates to them.
2. Through the recognition certificate only, startups are able to avail themselves of the benefits of various initiatives of the Government of India that are launched to help startups.
(a) To avail of benefits under the SIPP scheme, a recognition certificate is required for the startups.
(b) Using the recognition certificate, startups can avail of fee benefits in IPRs and can fast-track the registration of IPRs.
3. Apart from recognizing startups, under the startup-India initiative resources are provided to the stakeholders.
(a) from time to time workshops are conducted on various topics including IPRs.
(b) For entrepreneurs, there are online courses relevant to their startup journey.
(c) Startup India portal also works as a one-stop solution to get information that a startup needs to avail benefits of government schemes.
6. CIPAM (Cell for IPR Promotion and Management)
It is a dedicated cell for IPR promotion and management (CIPAM). This professional body comes under the aegis of DPIIT (Department of Industry and Internal Trade).
CIPAM mainly targets 5 domains for generating awareness which include:
To nurture creativity and the ability to innovate from a young age, CIPAM focuses on schools to generate awareness about IPRs.
Under their awareness program in schools, CIPAM conducts an hour-long interactive session in which experts present the IPR knowledge.
To make the session more engaging for children, various games and activities are conducted during the session.
Universities’ role in shaping young minds can be used as an asset for the nation.
To capitalize on this role, CIPAM aims to tap into the potential and creative innovation of our youth to create a robust IP ecosystem in India.
Not only youths are sensitized toward IP, the respect for others’ IP is also nurtured in young minds through awareness sessions.
The government understands that it is vital for Indian Industry to innovate and protect its innovations to compete at the global level.
We are aware that IPRs give a monopoly in the market, and any business having a monopoly will crush the competition.
Therefore, it is pivotal for the government’s Make in India and Digital India initiatives to promote the IP ecosystem in Indian Industry.
IPR policy outlines among its objectives to “Enforcement and Adjudication of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs)”
To fulfill this objective, the police have an important role to play. Therefore, there is a need for capacity building of enforcement agencies at various levels. Therefore, to sensitize the police toward IP, the CIPAM is conducting awareness sessions from time to time.
Judiciary’s role is pivotal in strengthening the IP ecosystem in our country. Resolutions to IP conflicts often require the intervention of the Judiciary.
Therefore, an aware judiciary is a must for a strong IPR regime in any country.
In this regard, CIPAM is working with WIPO and the National Judicial Academy, India to conduct sensitization programs on IPRs for Courts and Judges.
To conduct an awareness program in your organization you can write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other functions of CIPAM include working on IP policy-related matters, coordinating among various organizations in matters of IP, and looking into the matters related to the commercialization of IP.
7. Scheme for Pedagogy and Research in IPRs for Holistic Education and Academia (SPRIHA)
If you have gone through the article, by now it must be clear to you that the government is trying to generate awareness among all concerned sections of society.
If programs like Atmanirbhar Bharat, Make in India and Digital India are to be successful then India must innovate and protect its innovation.
Industries generally evolve as per the current needs of the market, however, there is a tendency in our universities of higher education to not focus much on protecting their IP. As a result, our academia misses out on earning potential of IPRs.
Google’s famous PageRank Algorithm which powered its search engine was owned by Stanford University. It was invented by Google’s co-founder Larry Page while he was doing Ph.D. at the University. If interested, you can check out the PageRank patent US6285999B1 for further knowledge. Google bought exclusive licensing rights of this patent from Stanford University in exchange of its stocks worth $1.8M dollars. Standford sold these stocks for $338M dollars in 2005.
If you look at our universities, publishing research papers is very common. However, that research many times does not turn into a protected IP.
To become self-sufficient including funds and competent, IPRs can play a crucial role for our Universities just like we saw above one patent that earned Stanford $338 million dollars.
As per the IPR national policy 2016, one of the objectives of the National IPR policy under objective 7.2 is to:
“Strengthen IP chairs in educational institutes of higher learning to provide quality teaching and research, develop teaching capacity and curricula and evaluate their work on performance based criteria”
How Did SPRIHA Come Up?
The Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD) (now called the Ministry of Education) had launched a Central Scheme of Intellectual Property Education, Research and Public Outreach (IPERPO).
Under IPERPO, IPR Chairs were set up in educational institutes. The idea behind this was to encourage the study of IPRs in recognized educational institutes.
For its effective implementation, a review committee was set up and its findings/ suggestions were considered.
In the process, it was realized that the scheme of setting up Chairs in a few recognized institutions should be extended to Universities and Institutions of higher learning pan India.
As a result, DPIIT formulated a Scheme for Pedagogy & Research in IPRs for Holistic Education & Academia (SPRIHA). This scheme aims:
1. To encourage the study of IPR and to promote outreach on IPR,
2. To remove the underlying disparity between varied funding for different institutions
3. To bring uniformity within the various aspects of this scheme with respect to quantifiable deliverables on part of the Chairs.
Few functions of SPRIHA scheme:
1. To develop credit as well as specialized courses on IPR,
2. To organize seminars and workshops on IPR matters,
3. To develop inputs
4. To research IPR matters
5. To inculcate a long-standing recognition and respect for one’s IP and others’ IP in the student’s minds.
This scheme has streamlined the setting up and the functioning of the Chair.
For example, it addresses:
1. qualification and functions IPR Chair,
2. unavailability of competent staff to be appointed as IPR Chair,
3. funding issues, and
4. lack of certainty regarding the continuation of the IPR Chair.
To know more about the eligibility criteria of a Chair, Salary, Entitlements to carry out IPR activities, and other aspects of the implementation of the scheme including the list of universities covered under this scheme, you can refer to this link: SPRIHA.
Kapila program is run by the government with aim of generating awareness in higher education institutes in the country. KAPILA stands for Kalam Program for IP Literacy and Awareness.
Under the KAPILA program mainly 4 functions are carried out:
- IPR Awareness
- Funding Assistance in form of reimbursement for the expenditure taken place in filing a patent application. For one application INR 5600 is refunded.
- IPR courses
- Push vertices where the economy is driven by patents
We have written about the KAPILA program in detail here for you to checkout.
9. Initiatives By Indian Patent Office
In recent times, Indian patent office (IPO) has raised the level of activities. The result of various initiatives by IPO is evident as IP filings are going up every year.
In fact, the number of domestic patent application has surpassed the number of foreign patent applications.
Coming back to the various initiatives, for you as an inventor, followings are the benefits that you can take:
1. Fee has been reduced for various categories and new categories which can avail fee reduction are being added from time to time.
2. Facility of expedited examination is provided to many categories and newer categories are being added.
3. Manpower has gone up in IPO reducing the delay in patent grants. So, you may get a patent quicker.
4. Every year, national IP awards are given to recognize and reward the top achievers for their IP creations and commercialization.
IP awards are conferred to various categories.
For example, For patent filing, grant & commercialization: individuals (Male, Female, Child, Third Gender), academic institutions, R & D institutions, public limited comapny/ private Company from manufacturing sector and service sector, MSME, startups, etc. are considered for national IP awards.
Similarly, best incubators for nurturing IP, best police unit for enforcement of IP, top indian company for creating brand, top geographical indications, top company for design filing, registration and commercialization are considered for national IP awards.
For more initiatives and details, you can further check out IPINDIA website.
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