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Indian software tool automates intellectual property processes

Image credit: EduMinOfIndia; Twitte

ProrIISeTN, an indigenous software solution to automate the processes of protecting and translating intellectual property (IP), has been launched by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc)’s Director, Govindan Rangarajan.

The first version of the tool automates the legal and bureaucratic part of IP processes. It was released after three years of testing. The second version will automate the financial part and is set for release later this year. The third version will use artificial intelligence-based approaches to prior art searches required to evaluate a patent. It is scheduled for release in 2022.

ProrIISeTN is an indigenous Indian software product created after IISc realised that Indian academia could not afford existing software solutions, which is why the software primarily targets Indian academia and small law firms. It will eventually go international, according to a news report. IISc expects that by reducing the effort spent on administering IP, resources will be shifted to focus on translation to industry. The software archives all exchanges, an essential component, as protected IP has both legal and financial implications. The processes implemented in the software are also expected to automatically serve as methods that academia can use to protect and translate IP. This will also help smaller universities where similar processes and resources may not exist to set up and streamline their IP offices.

IISc stated that in India, the owner of IP generated by employees is usually the employer. Publicly-funded institutions and universities, depending on their policies, give the inventors the freedom to either disseminate this intellectual property in open-source journals or choose to protect it in the form of patents before public disclosure. Protection is vital if the IP is to be translated to the industry for commercialisation, it said.

For instance, if a scientist developed a drug for cancer and if these findings were published openly, the chances of an industry picking it up for commercialisation are lower than if the drug was protected. This is because, from the time the invention is born in academia to the time it is commercialised, investments have to be made to get any IP market-ready. In the case of the cancer drug, this would be clinical trials. Industry players would be wary of making investments if they cannot be assured of patent protection that prevents indiscriminate copying.

The Intellectual Property and Technology Licensing Office (IPTeL) in IISc, and similar offices in other institutes in India, protect to enable further translation. The translation is of two types: the first is to start-ups from the institution itself and the second is technology transfer to an established industry. The track record of protection and translation in India is poor. A 2016 IISc evaluation showed that the amount of time spent on administering the patent process, instead of on translation, is a major reason for poor protections.

Monitoring this legal, financial, and bureaucratic maze manually makes for an inefficient system, which leads to the loss of rights, as inventors could lose interest in patenting. An automated system would address both these hurdles to protecting and translating IP.

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