IIT Madras Researchers Filed for 184 patents during 2020, despite COVID-19 Restrictions
New Delhi: Indian Institute of Technology Madras Faculty, Researchers and Students filed for as much as 184 patents during 2020 overcoming the several months of nation-wide lockdown.
This includes nine patents related to COVID-19 for inventions ranging from ‘Systems and methods for detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2’ and ‘A standalone, portable single-use and wireless ventilator system’ besides ‘A system for non-invasive calibration-free blood pressure measurement’ and ‘Smart and Sustainable devices for infectious Mask and PPE waste treatment.’
Over the years, IIT Madras has created an ecosystem that encourages and facilitates its researchers towards filing patents. It is driven by the translational and transformational research undertaken by the faculty members and researcher scholars in areas that are relevant to the industry.
Besides medical and healthcare, several patents were also filed in other cutting-edge areas such as 5G, telecommunications, sensors and instrumentation, among others.
Another major highlight in the patents filed for from IIT Madras has been the steady increase in international patents. From 22 in the calendar year 2017, the total number of international patents has almost tripled in just four years, reaching 65 during 2020.
The Centre for Industrial Consultancy and Sponsored Research (ICSR), IIT Madras, has undertaken many initiatives in recent years to drive this increase in patents being filed in India and abroad.
A dedicated Intellectual Property (IP) Cell at ICSR conducts awareness program regularly to sensitize students/ faculty members on the importance of IP protection and monetization. The Cell instituted work from home immediately after lockdown and took all activities completely online to ensure the process continued to function smoothly.
Speaking about patents filing during 2020, Prof. Ravindra Gettu, Dean (ICSR), IIT Madras, said, “IIT Madras has facilitated continuous support to its faculty members and students for patent filing over the last decade. The innovations at the Institute have resulted in the filing of 184 patents (Indian and International) during the year 2020. The extensive research related to COVID-19, has led to the Institute shortlisting nine IDF (Invention Disclosure Form) to be filed during the year 2020.”
The IIT Madras in-house IP analytics team also provides support to Inventors with a report of comprehensive ‘prior art’ search results. This helps inventors understand the patentability of their inventions and also helps to design around, if needed, before filing patent applications.
Some of the measures introduced by IIT Madras during 2020 to ensure patents filing proceeded smoothly include:
Ø Organizing virtual IDF meetings (Invention Disclosure Form):
The Institute facilitates an online IDF (Invention Disclosure Form) submission system, through which inventors can submit their invention to IP Cell online for review and feedback. This provision reduces the turn-around time for approval and filing of patents. (An invention disclosure, or invention disclosure report, is a confidential document written by a scientist or engineer to determine whether patent protection should be sought for the described invention).
Ø Virtual Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) meetings:
The PCT assists applicants in seeking patent protection internationally for their inventions. By filing one international patent application under the PCT, applicants can simultaneously seek protection for an invention in all the countries that are party to the PCT (153 countries, as on date).
Ø ‘Have An Idea’ program:
Other new initiatives implemented during 2020 include – ‘Have An Idea’ program for brainstorming and idea discussions before submitting invention disclosure to IP cell, virtual collaboration with attorneys and online filing of provisional applications. Virtual IP awareness programs for faculty, researchers and students were also conducted.
IIT Madras facilitates online filing (e-filing) of Provisional application at Indian patent office and is also equipped to perform in-house management of patent maintenance and filing of working statement of patents. The Institute has also empanelled reputed IP firms for patent application filings, prosecutions of patent application, maintenance (Foreign) and providing IP activities-related support.