Lack of tech innovation ecosystem a challenge for policy makers, industry: CUTS

Business-Standard, December 01, 2018

New Delhi, Dec 1 (PTI) Due to lack of a robust innovation ecosystem, Indian policymakers and industry need to look at collaborative standard development process for technology development to face global competition, non-profit consumer body CUTS has said in its latest report.

It said patents that exist for present communication technologies — technically called standard essential patents (SEPs) — are prone to abuse by their owners, and lack of patent among Indian firms has pushed large number of domestic mobile manufacturers into assembling.

“…instead of mulling sub-optimal regulation of SEPs, there is a need for policymakers and domestic players in India to utilise the collaborative standards development process as a ladder for growth and leverage it fully to compete in the global market,” the CUTS report released on Friday evening said.

Studies have concluded that Indian mobile manufacturers invest little in research and development (R&D) and have almost negligible returns from patent royalties due to a general lack of patent ownership, it added.

The telecom ministry has allocated Rs 500 crore to encourage 5G ecosystem development in the country.

CUTS said the government’s 5G initiative is a welcome step and the funds allocated therein should be utilised to further encourage and incentivise local firms to develop their internal capacities and compete in voluntary standard setting activities.

“Alongside this, the present market players as well as the government should think about how to collectively invest in R&D, so that Indian firms become globally competitive,” the report said.

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