Intellectual property (IP) – fruits of the human creativity, including inventions, works of art andliterature, logos and labels used in commerce – are protected either as patents, trademarks, industrial designs, or copyrights. In recent years, IISc, India’s premier science and technology institute, too has recognized the need to safeguard the ideas and innovations conceived in its research laboratories. It was this recognition that motivated the Institute to set up the IP Cell in 2004. The Cell was recently rechristened as the Office of Intellectual Property & Technology Licensing (IPTeL).
Since the establishment of this office, IISc has seen a steady rise in the number of patents filed each year. So far, 604 patents have been filed, out of which 137 patents have been granted and are in force, 416 are under prosecution, while 51 have lapsed. Not surprisingly, the engineering departments on campus lead the race when it comes to filing patents.
Researchers at IISc can choose to file their patents in India or abroad. Of the 604 patents filed, 370 have been filed in India, as compared to 234 in foreign countries. In recent years, the proportion of Indian patents has increased. This is partly because of limited availability of resources. Equally importantly, researchers are realizing that it makes sense to file a patent in the country where it is most likely to be useful.
In addition to facilitating patenting activities, IPTeL also works towards enhancing industry-IISccollaboration for improved technology transfer via licencing. Licensing patents can pave the way for additional revenue to flow into IISc. The nascent IPTeL generated a revenue of Rs. 70 lakhs in 2015.
Examples of recent patents from IISc
Optical nanosensor for early detection of pheromones of the olive fruit fly(Prof. Santanu Bhattacharya, Department of Organic Chemistry)
Patient transfer apparatus to help patients move from one movable platform to another without altering the posture of, or touching the subject (Prof. B. Gurumurthy, Centre for Product Design and Management)
Electric gradient augmented water filtration (Dr. Sanjiv Sambandan, Instrumentation and Applied Physics)
Aqueous electrolyte based electrochemical test cell apparatus for in situ X-ray diffraction study of aqueous batteries (Prof. A. K. Shukla, Solid State and Structural Chemistry Unit)