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IIT Madras Records Doubling of Patents Granted to 300 during 2023

In Education
February 21, 2024

Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) recorded a doubling of patents granted during 2023 calendar year. From 156 patents granted during 2022, the number increased considerably to 300 during 2023.

In addition, the number of international patents filed (including those granted under Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)) also recorded a significant increase, going up to 105 during 2023, from 58 in the preceding year.

Further, as many as 221 patents have already been filed during the current fiscal (As on December 2023), including 163 Indian Patents and 63 International Patents Applications (including PCT).

Since the Institute’s inception, a total of about 2,550 IP (including Patent) applications have been filed both in India (1,800) and abroad (750) so far, out of which about 1,100 are registered IPs/granted patents (about 900 Indian & 200 International).

It is a matter of pride for IIT Madras that it had started filing Patent applications as early as January 1975 (granted in May 1977). The total number of IP applications filed crossed 1,000 in the year 2016, 2000 in the year 2022 and 2,500 in the year 2023.

Lauding the Faculty, Researchers and students on their pioneering and translational research, Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, said, “As we are marching towards our 100th year of Independence, for Bharat to become a superpower it is very important to protect our ideas. In this direction, I congratulate the faculty and students and the Office of Industrial Consultancy and Sponsored Research (ICSR) who have put together a very comprehensive program, by which we have created a record in the number of patents filed.”

Researchers at IIT Madras are proactively generating intellectual property (IP) in domains such as wireless networks, advanced materials, robotics, additive manufacturing technology, engine advancements, assistive devices, advanced sensor applications, clean energy, aerospace applications, polymer material and thin films, catalysts, and biomedical applications. among many other emerging technologies.

The Office of Industrial Consultancy and Sponsored Research (ICSR) at IIT Madras coordinates the different aspects related to Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer. The Centre collaborates with faculty, researchers and students and also has a dedicated Legal Cell

Elaborating on the Institute support provided to researchers, Prof. Manu Santhanam, Dean (IC&SR), IIT Madras, “The institute has made it easy for inventors to access existing patent information through an online AI-based patent search tools. This facility has helped the inventors not only to quickly evaluate the invention by themselves but also to improve their ideas and claims. The emphasis is also equally on the quality of the work being translated as IP. This is only possible because of the collaborative effort of our inventors and the IP team.”

Further, Prof Ravindra Gettu, former Dean (ICSR), IIT Madras, said, “There are three aspects of IP enabling at IITM: Clarifying, simplifying and demystifying IP filling; providing support for quick filing and follow-up without the faculty losing time or worrying about procedures; and facilitating technology transfer and monetization of IP. The success stories and incentives are helping considerably.”

Prof. T. Pradeep, Institute Professor, Department of Chemistry, IIT Madras, is one of the top innovators in the Institute, having filed more than 100 Indian patent applications (since January 2004) and about 50 international patent applications (since January 2005), and received almost 100 grants overall.

Speaking about the successes in patents filing, Prof. T. Pradeep, who is also a Padma Shri Awardee, said, “When my first patent was filed about 20 years ago, there was no efficient mechanism to do it. I did almost everything including patent drafting filing, responding to examination reports, commercialisation, etc. Over the years, we have built a robust system for filing and commercialisation. I have filed patents even within three days using this system and reached out to potential partners for commercialisation. About 25 of my IPs have been commercialised in one way or the other.”

Prof. M.S. Ramachandra Rao, Department of Physics, IIT Madras, said, “Each patent we seek is not just a legal document; it is a testament to our commitment to turning visionary concepts into tangible solutions. Our drive stems from the conviction that innovation is not merely an abstract concept, it is indeed a catalyst for progress. Moreover, the connection between patenting and commercialization is pivotal. Patents not only protect our intellectual property but also serve as springboards for commercial success. In essence, the pursuit of patents is intertwined with our commitment to benefiting industries and start-ups.”

Prof. Mohansankar Sivaprakasam, Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Madras, said, “What motivates me and my group to create and commercialize IP, is the immense potential for research and innovation to develop solutions that creates impact on health and lives of people. Our international projects, global patents and technology transfer supported by IITM’s ICSR show that this impact can go beyond India and have a global reach. In the coming years, our intent is to further increase this international footprint.”

Prof. Krishnan Balasubramaniam, Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Madras, said, “Seeing our Lab Research translated into solutions that impact others is the prime motivation. IIT Madras Technology going global is amazing. We are now seeing this. We are also making a difference to our startup eco-system by licensing the IP to our own startups on soft-terms enabling them to make an impact in India and elsewhere. The IP cell is extremely responsive where speed to filing, renewing, etc. are well streamlined and ease of doing business is the prime USP. The monetization of the IP is also now well organized and moving forward. We have a great future ahead of us.”

The Institute has taken various initiatives to boost IP/Patent Application filings and technology transfer including:
Ø Simple IP Management Tool: The institute has developed an efficient in-house IP management tool which helps in docketing, document storage and retrieval of data, leading to easy and quick access of information.

Ø Availing Fee Reduction: Government of India has reduced the patent filing fee for educational institutions with effect from 21.09.2021. For example, the official fee for filing an application for Indian patent was reduced from INR 8,000 to INR 1,600. The institute has been effectively using this provision to file a large number of patent applications.

Ø Fast-tracking applications: Patent prosecution is a time-consuming process. A patent application is followed by publication and examination before it is granted. The ordinary timeline for publication is 18 months and for examination is 48 months. To accelerate the prosecution process, all eligible patent applications are considered for filing early publication and expedited examination, which allows the patent to be published in 1 month and examined within 3 months.

Ø IPR awareness Workshop: IPM Cell periodically conducts Intellectual Property programs to researchers and students to create awareness on IP processing and filing. The cell organizes regular meetings with inventors at the time of submission of the idea to fine-tune their IP applications and claims.

Ø Motivating researchers: The Institute continues to motivate and encourage IP generations and technology transfers by rewarding/providing incentives to the best-performing researchers by

a) Sharing 72% of the licensed money received with inventors, and
b) Annually recognising top performing inventors by giving awards like Sir J.C. Bose Patent Awards-New Innovation award & Test of time award.

Recognition received for IP and Technology Transfer activities in the recent past
Ø Questel IP Excellence Award 2023

Ø CII – Industrial Intellectual Property Award 2023 in the category of Academic Institution by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). This is based on Best Patents Portfolio during 2018-23.

Ø CII – Industrial Intellectual Property Awards 2022 in the category of Academic Institution by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). This is based on Best Patents Portfolio during 2017-22

Ø CII – Industrial Innovation Award 2020 – Winner in Most Innovative Research Institution (Disruptive Innovations) by CII

Ø National Intellectual Property Awards 2021 & 2022 – Top Indian Academic Institution for Patents Filing, Grant & Commercialisation by Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Govt. of India.

Ø Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA) – Continuously Ranked No. 1 among centrally funded universities (2019 to 2021) by Ministry of Education, Govt. of India. ARIIA ranks the institutes based on high-quality research, innovation and entrepreneurship development, among others.