Saturday, January 13, 2007

Government Scientists To Get Royalty For Patents [India]

Government Scientists To Get Royalty For Patents

The Minister for Science and Technology has announced optimistic news for the Indian government scientists. The scientists working with various government research institutes are to get a share of the licensing fee, which the Government charges when technology is transferred to a company for making a marketable product. The Union government has announced that it will introduce a law that will give scientists in Government-run laboratories a share in royalty when their innovation brings commercial dividends.

It is expected that the new law will be modeled on 1980 Bayhe-Dole law in the US, that enables the innovators in public sector research to benefit from commercialisation of their invention. The US law mandates royalty sharing between the Government and the innovator. The incentive facilitates technology to move from Government laboratories to the market. It further encourages public sector research and brings convergence between research and industry.

The new proposed legislation which is expected to be introduced in the next budgetary session, aims to discourage government scientist from publishing papers, but in turn, would encourage them to patent technology leading to wealth creation. The Indian Pharma Company, presently spotlight only on services and generics rather than innovation. The Pharma Companies are expecting that they could be the main beneficiaries, as the government scientist can bridge the gap to a great extent. The government is planning to give 30% of the royalty, license and profits from the public funded research project to scientists who have worked on the project. But, the onus will be on the individual scientist/researcher to report his study and seek patent for the same.

Earlier, due to little contribution for innovation from the part of the government, there was a fear of ‘brain drain’ in the industry. But, research is now global and India is seen as contributing to global research generating capacity. As the attitude is shifting, Government policies will continue to support strategic research because these cannot be bought off the shelf, but will have to be carried out in coordination with the industry. Universities will have a much more important role to play with the advent of the new legislation. Right incentive in the government laboratories will send right signal and will give rise to new technology.

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