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Increase in Demand for Trained Patent Professionals in the Information Technology Industry

Atulya Nath
Monday, October 3, 2011
Atulya Nath
Information Technology (IT) has emerged as a key sector of the Indian economy in terms of its contribution to export earnings, employment opportunities, investments and overall socioeconomic development. India's IT potential has attracted multinationals to grab a share of the pie and cash in on the IT boom. Notwithstanding competitive pressures from around the world, the sector continues to grow as a consequence of access to trained English speaking professionals, cost competitiveness and quality telecommunications infrastructure.

Despite the rapid growth, experts have attributed the success of India’s IT sector and especially of its software firms mainly to outsourcing services to multinational firms for low-value, routine and standardized tasks. Lately, it has been observed that the IT companies are committed to boost their spending on R&D and innovation, which is evident from the increase in number of Patents that have been filed by these companies at the US Patent Office, European Patent Office and the Indian Patent Office.

A patent is the right that the owner has and which sets about ensuring that others are excluded from creating, making use of or selling the invention defined in the assertions made in the patent. Typical process of obtaining a patent undergoes five layers: disclosures by the investor, search for patentability, filing of application, examination of the patent application and amendment of the application. A major portion of this work is undertaken by technical (BE, BTech, MS, PhD) professionals with sound subject matter knowledge and skills in patents and patent process.

In India, software is protected under the Copyright Act and not the Patent Act (as in many western countries). However, Indian IT companies have filed patent applications for their software in other parts of the world and these companies continue to seek non-software patents in India. Many of them have also filed business method patents in US. As Indian IT companies restructure their operations for high value service offerings, they are focused on innovation and intellectual property generation and protection in India and abroad.

The Indian IT industry has registered a 29-fold increase in patents over 2005-2008 and as opposed to this, growth in patent applications with the Indian Office of the Controller General of Patents was negatively affected in 2009, says the Nasscom Strategic Review, 2010.

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