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Patent filings rise as Indian IT cos look to raise their game

In a world of rapid change, patents ensure that an emerging tech is not being walled off by others.

Aug 22, 2019, 08.32 AM IST
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PUNE: Indian technology companies have stepped up filing patents as they build solutions and products in emerging technologies and look to monetise their IP and grow their business faster. The proliferation of digital technologies across industries is perhaps the biggest reason why these firms are rushing to create IP.

At Wipro, the number of patents filed has jumped to over 2,200 in FY19 from 221 in FY12. For industry leader Tata Consultancy Services, this number has touched 4,596 in FY19 from 1,746 in FY14, with over a thousand being granted already.

“In a world of rapid tech development, patents ensure that Wipro has the ability to deliver solutions in multiple new technologies and that access to new tech is not being walled off by other organisations creating patent rights for themselves,” said Ajay Bhaskar, global head-corporate strategy and IP, Wipro.

“Having patents in emerging tech is definitely a source of competitive advantage especially as we transition to building and using products and platforms on which we compose, design and implement differentiated customer solutions at scale,” he said.

TCS has had a long-standing focus on IP creation, with a research facility dating back to 1981, said chief technology officer Ananth Krishnan. “One approach to this (IP creation) is to let smart people loose and let them innovate, but we take a more systematic approach. We’ve articulated a 3P strategy — patent, product and platform — to translate the innovation to a logical outcome,” he said.

This helps in creating solutions that can then be implemented and monetised, one of the key challenges with patent creation. Even at smaller firms like Zensar, creating IP is a critical part of their new strategic focus on AI. For tech firms, the competitive advantage that can be gained by creating intellectual property simply cannot be ignored.

Nikhil Malhotra, head of Makers Lab, Tech Mahindra said that in addition of being a competitive advantage, creating IP can help drive long term revenues as well as boost employee morale.

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“Our IPs... are giving us competitive advantage vis-à-vis competition-...these IPs have research and development done by our teams to find out the white space and create a breakthrough solution which helps not just one but a range of customers,” he said. Global firms have always come to India to get access to the tech talent, but they are now transitioning to a higher state of maturity and value creation. Their local teams have been important contributors to the IP created by them.

In 2018, India labs contributed 800+ patents in the areas of blockchain, artificial intelligence, agri research, service delivery and more, the spokesperson added.

“In some organisations, the number of patents filed from India has gone up significantly in the past few years, owing to a concerted and structured effort,” said Anand Subramaniam, associate director of tech consulting firm Zinnov.


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