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Biological material is an alternate to produce renewable energy called Biofuel. Biofuel offers a possible alternative to petroleum-based fuels or fossil fuels. The explosive and healthy growth in the biofuel market has constantly been catching eyes over the past decade.  The main goal to embrace biofuel is to break the rusty chain of environmental pollution and importing oil adding to the county’s economy, subsequently, it will lend an eager hand in replacing the dependency of nonrenewable resources, mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and patronizing economic development. Biofuel is playing a significant role in sectors like aviation, navy or maritime transportation, etc. which is leading to expansion in consumer demand. A glimpse of biofuel advancement is started from corn starch, sugarcane, rapeseed, soy, etc. as a first generation biofuel, and followed by non-lignocellulose feedstock as second generation biofuel. Feedstock such as Jatropha oil (third-generation biofuel) and genetically modified microorganism (fourth-generation biofuel) are trigger point in cutting edge technology for increasing the biofuel production. Overall, the third and fourth generation biofuel technology will unlock an opportunity to bring forth a large-scale production potential across the globe.  The article will be witnessing the curve of market outlook and forecast, Jurisdictions ladder, competitive landscape in the biofuel market.

The global biofuel market spike has been predicted to jump up at an approx. rate of 2.24 percent over 10 years between the years from 2016 to 2026. Accordingly, an estimation to touch USD 11.59 trillion by the year 2026 owing to the hint of how it will be rapidly growing. Feedstock like coarse grain and vegetable oils are expected to be highly used in biofuel production. The global consumption of biofuel reached about 153.4 billion per liter in 2016, further it has been projected to increase modestly by the period of 2026, which might be around 173.5 billion per liter at the growth rate of 1.2 percent. Factors strengthening biofuel market are:

  • Biomass-based fuels for transportation has a great potential to cut down on emissions produced by vehicles
  • Price is lower than any other nonrenewable resources
  • Sustainability in biofuels as their various uses or applications have increased for the past years as a way to increase energy self-sufficiency
  • Reducing net trade costs, biofuels is getting a grip on several industrial sectors.

The eye-catching healthy rapid growth has become the strategic focus for many business firms for gaining profits over the past decade. It can be noticed the concrete proof of a drastic increase in the biofuel market in terms of its use in aviation, marine transport domains.

Sustainable fuel mostly drives the demand for bioenergy in the transportation domain across the world. It has been studied that biofuel consumption in most of the countries will be interlinked to local or domestic demand. Additionally, in regards to Biofuels Renewable Energy Directive, the policy framework in the European Union has already mentioned that the consumption of renewable energy including non-liquids would jump up to 10 percent of total transport fuel consumption in 2020 on an energy equivalent basis. Also, as per Fuel Quality Directive, fuel producers would require to reduce the greenhouse gases (GHG) intensity of transport fuels.

Europe is continuously holding the top position in biofuel production, while on the flick side, the US is capitalizing on a great deal of raw material availability and playing a dominant inning in the market. The two countries – US and Brazil are the key ethanol suppliers. Brazil is emerging as the main producer of biofuel energy followed by Argentina and Indonesia showing prominent growth. The policies in all these countries influence the biofuel production patterns.

In the European market, biodiesel rules the fuel segment. The biodiesel is certainly preferred over ethanol, diesel and petrol due to the existing energy taxation policy, which brings about a heavy dependence on biofuel indicating around 70 percent of its transport fuel market. Therefore, biodiesel accounts for 80 percent whereas ethanol stands at 20 percent of the biofuel market. Europe, the leading producer of biodiesel, is constantly tightening the grip on the biofuel market among the key players like Brazil, the US, Argentina, and Indonesia. In the current year 2020, European biodiesel production has been expected to have a substantial rise in production.

The leading US biofuel market is expected to be growing at a rate of 4.6 percent and will reach around USD 7336 billion by the end of the year 2026. The industry analysis reports portrayed a different picture, it is speculated that the US market might not come to amply fulfill the biofuel requirement, and the compliance gap could stand out till the year 2030. The US lays great emphasis on the EISA (The Energy Independence and Security Act) Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) policy. The policy aims to boost the required volumes of renewable fuel being used in vehicles.

Major key players like GEVO, POET, DuPont, Neste, and Bluefire are producing biofuel to fulfill the global demand of fuel. Australia based Algae Tec company cultivates algae for the production of biofuel, for which the company is using marginal land or industrialized locations. Furthermore, it is more productive as oil and hydrocarbons per landmass than any other terrestrial crop. The US based company Butamax Advanced Biofuels has invented bio-isobutanol production technology with reduced production cost in order to provide a high-value drop-in biofuel for transportation fuel supply.

Recent patent filing trends support the market growth of biofuel, wherein patent filing originating from European countries take first place across the globe, followed by US. Also, it has been noticed that innovation is more focused on genetic development for enhanced biofuel production through using different microbial strains. Apart from the genetic development, other secondary areas of innovation cover enzymatic hydrolysis process, waste to biofuel, etc.

In conclusion, it seems biofuel is emerging area that will lead automotive and renewable energy sector. Biotechnological advancement, waste management, strict environmental regulation for gas emission, high demand of electric vehicle, rise in patent activity are the key driving factors that will support the biofuel market to tremendously grow in near future.

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India, Industry News, Intellectual Property, IP industry, Press Releases

IP consultancies mushroom in Mohali, Chandigarh

The influx of research institutes, universities, manufacturing and IT companies in Chandigarh, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh has become a cynosure of Intellectual Property (IP) consultancy firms. There are over a dozen firms in public and private sector besides individual consultants in Chandigarh and Mohali which cater to businesses and technical institutions in their innovation, patents, trademarks and IP valuation.

Some of the companies engaged in offering IP-related services include TT Consultants, Signicent LLP, GreyB, Logicapt and PatentsKart. The latest to launch operations in Mohali is Noida-based Effectual Services. It plans to hire over 50 people in immediate future to provide IP solution to Fortune 500 companies, law firms, research institutes, universities, and venture capital and PE firms.

Amit Aggarwal, co-founder and Director, Effectual Services, said “Mohali was a sensible choice for us to serve our clients better. Opening a second office in India was a step in our business growth strategy to cater to the increasing demand.”

According to experts, low operating cost and the presence of research institutions in the region are the two main factors which are attracting IP consultancy firms here.

“We have a pharma cluster in Baddi, number of research institutes and universities such as National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute, Mohali, Centre of Innovative and Applied Bio-processing, Institute of Microbial Technology, IIT-Ropar, Chitkara University and Chandigarh University among others. There is an ample scope for IP-related services here,” said Harit Mohan, CEO, Signicent LLP (Mohali).

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पंजाब के मोहाली में इफेक्चुअल सर्विसेज ने नया ऑफिस खोलने की घोषणा की

एक प्रमुख इंटेलेक्चुअल प्रॉपर्टी मैनेजमेंट एडवाइजरी फर्म, इफेक्चुअल सर्विसेज, ने भारत में अपनी मौजूदगी को और दमदार बनाने और बिजनेस और कंपनी का दायरा फैलाने की योजना बनाई है। इफेक्चुअल सर्विसेज ने मोहाली में नया ऑफिस खोलने की घोषणा की है। मोहाली स्थित ऑफिस में 100 से ज्यादा कर्मचारियों की भर्ती की जाएगी। 2019 में कंपनी ने अपने कॉरपोरेट ऑफिस का विस्तार किया था, 200 से ज्यादा कर्मचारियों की भर्ती की थी और नई जगह से अपने कारोबारी कामकाज का संचालन शुरू किया था।

कंपनी की रणनीति के साथ तालमेल से और पंजाब में कंपनी का दायरा फैलाने के लिए इफेक्चुअल सर्विसेज ने निकट भविष्य में 50 से ज्यादा कर्मचारियों की भर्ती की योजना बनाई है। इन कर्मचारियों की भर्ती कंपनी की ओर से अलग-अलग सेवाओं को प्रदान करने के लिए की जाएंगी। इफेक्चुअल सर्विसेज फॉर्च्यून 500 से जुड़ी कंपनियों, लॉ फर्म, रिसर्च इंस्टिट्यूट, यूनिवर्सिटीज, वेंचर कैपिटल और पीई फर्मों को आईपी सपोर्ट सोल्यूशन प्रदान कर रही है।

इफेक्चुअल सर्विसेज ग्लोबल मार्केट के साथ घरेलू मार्केट में दिन दूनी रात चौगुनी प्रगति कर रही है और तेजी से आगे बढ़ रही है। मोहाली में अलग-अलग क्षेत्रों में काम कर रही इफेक्चुअल सर्विस की विशेषज्ञों की टीम कंपनी के दुनिया भर के साथ ही घरेलू स्तर पर विस्तार करने में योगदान देगी। संगठन का उद्देश्य सभी तरह की विशेषज्ञ सलाह, आंतरिक मंथन और गुणवत्ता से कंपनी की सक्षमता बढ़ाना है। आज के दौर में क्लाइंट्स इसी की सबसे ज्यादा मांग कर रहे हैं और वे इसके हकदार भी हैं। मोहाली में इफेक्चुअल सर्विसेज अपने कर्मचारियों की संख्या अगले 2 साल में 25 फीसदी से ज्यादा बढ़ाएगी।

निकट भविष्य में कंपनी के कई अन्य कार्यालय और सेंटर खोले जाएंगे। इफेक्चुअल सर्विसेज तकनीकी रूप से आधुनिकीकरण और बेहतरीन रणनीति के लिए जाने वाले कई क्षेत्रों में अपनी कंपनी का दायरा बढ़ाने की योजना बना रही है। कंपनी वर्टिकल एक्सपेंशन (ऊर्ध्वाकार विस्तार) पर भी फोकस करते हुए कच्चा माल विभिन्न कंपनियों को भेजेंगी, जो उसे तैयार माल के रूप में असेंबल कर आगे उसकी बिक्री करेंगे। इस तरह कंपनी व्यापार के नए क्षेत्रों में निवेश करेगी, जो कंपनी की जैविक, राजस्व संबंधी और कारोबारी विकास के लिए बेहद लाभदायक होगा।

इफेक्चुअल सर्विसेज के सहसंस्थापक और निदेशक अमित अग्रवाल ने अपने नए ऑफिस के बारे में बताते हुए कहा, “हम पंजाब में अपनी कंपनी का विस्तार कर बेहद उत्साहित हैं। यह हमारे लिए उस क्षेत्र में कंपनी की लॉन्चिंग शानदार मौका है, जहां से हमें प्रतिभाशाली कर्मचारी मिल सकते हैं और जो हमारे बिजनेस के लिए बेहद प्रासंगिक है। मोहाली का चुनाव हमारे और हमारे क्लाइंट्स के लिए काफी सोच-समझकर किया गया था, जिससे विभिन्न कंपनियों को विशेषज्ञ राय प्रदान की जा सके और उनकी बेहतर ढंग से सेवा कर सकें। कंपनी का मुख्य लक्ष्य अपने मौजूदा क्लाइंट्स को समय से सर्विस और सपोर्ट मुहैया कराना है। कारोबार को बढ़ावा देने की रणनीति के तहत उपभोक्ताओं की बढ़ती हुई मांग को पूरा करने और नए प्रतिभाशाली कर्मचारियों को कंपनी में भर्ती करने के लिए भारत में दूसरे ऑफिस का खोलना एक तर्कपूर्ण कदम है। हम लगातार क्रिएटिव, बेहतरीन और प्रतिभा और स्किल में निपुण कर्मचारियों को कंपनी में भर्ती करने का काम लगातार जारी रखेंगे। इससे हमें कंपनी के बड़े लक्ष्यों को पूरा करने में मदद मिलेगी।“

उन्होंने कहा, “मोहाली में नया ऑफिस खोलने से हमें अपने नए क्लाइंट्स को शानदार सर्विस देने के लिए नया प्लेटफॉर्म मिल गया है।“

इफेक्चुअल सर्विसेज के बारे में

इफेक्चुअल सर्विसेज इंटेलेक्चुअल प्रॉपर्टी मैनेजमेंट एडवाइजरी फर्म है। यह फर्म फॉर्च्यून 500 से जुड़ी कंपनियों, लॉ फर्म, रिसर्च इंस्टिट्यूट, यूनिवर्सिटीज, वेंचर कैपिटल और पीई फर्मों को आईपी सपोर्ट सोल्यूशन ऑफर कर रही हैं। कंपनी के पास अलग-अलग क्षेत्रों के विशेषज्ञों की टीम है, जिनके पास अलग-अलग जटिल पेटेंट असाइनमेंट्स को हैंडल करने का शानदार अनुभव है। इसमें ऑल्टरनेटिव एनर्जी, ऑटोमोटिव और एयरोस्पेस, बायोमेडिकल, बायोटेक्नोलॉजी और फार्मास्युटिकल्स, केमिकल और मटीरियल्स, इंफॉर्मेशन टेक्नोलॉजी, इलेक्ट्रानिक्स और कंप्यूटर, लाइफ साइंसेज, टेलीकम्युनिकेशन और दूसरे क्षेत्र शामिल हैं। कंपनी इंटेलेक्चुअल प्रॉपर्टी सपोर्ट सर्विसेज (आईपीएसएस) भी प्रदान करती हैं। कंपनी पेटेंट टर्म एडजस्टमेंट प्रक्रिया के दौरान प्रूफ रीडिंग, किसी गुड्स या पैकेज पर लेबल लगाकर या उसके दस्तावेजों को मार्क करने की प्रक्रिया और इंफॉर्मेशन डिस्क्लोजर स्टेटमेंट की सुविधा भी प्रदान कर रही है।

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Blog, India, Industry News, Intellectual Property, IP industry, Patent

The growing role and potential implications of AI on patents

As artificial intelligence systems start to co-author patents, how they are treated as part of the organization is going to be a challenge for companies using them for patents.

AI is without doubt the latest buzzword in town. Although it’s not as recent a phenomenon as one thinks, it has definitely penetrated our lives in the recent years more than ever. Be it Google assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, or Apple’s Siri – all of them are powered by a backend AI engine, which is ever learning and ever improving.

Although, AI is penetrating every field now, pharma was one of the earliest adopters of the technology utilizing the AI engines in drug discovery, diagnosis of disease. In 2017, the researchers at Stanford university trained an AI engine using 129,450 clinical images, and then tested its performance against 21 certified dermatologists in identifying Skin diseases. The AI was proven to be as efficient as human dermatologists in recognizing skin cancer. When it comes to patents and AI, there are several issues as discussed in following paragraphs.
Patentability of AI based inventions
As much as it is complex in nature, and ever learning, and ever improving, AI is a software, and software patentability has been frowned upon by law across the globe. In Europe, Article 52 of the European Patent Convention clearly states that “The following in particular shall not be regarded as inventions: schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, playing games or doing business, and programs for computers”.

Similarly, the Indian Patent act in Section 3(k) also states the computer programs as not being patentable per se. Although, the law seems to be united against the patenting the AI, but there have been workarounds for patenting the software, for example, in India, the software patents have been allowed in case they are tied up with a hardware, for example, the computer processor on which the software executes, so AI related inventions will not likely be very different.

AI as an Inventor

Perhaps, the most interesting issue in the patenting industry is of the AI being a named inventor of the algorithms it develops. DABUS (“Device for the Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience”) is an AI system developed by Dr. Stephen Thaler, which was also named as an inventor in two patent applications on the technology that was developed by the AI. The patent applications, with DABUS as inventor, were filed in US, UK and European Patent Office.

All the three patent offices rejected the patent applications that named DABUS as inventor. The key grounds for rejecting the patent applications were that the laws, as written, envision a natural person to be an inventor and not an AI.

Clearly, there’s a gap in the current legislations which the law makers across the globe need to ponder over and address in case AI systems were to become inventors.

But things do not stop there, in case an AI invented something, who owns the technology and the intellectual property generated thereby?Most of the organizations own the intellectual property generated by the employees, as they are working for the organization for emoluments. Is it safe to consider that DABUS, was working under the supervision of Dr. Stephen and his organization, therefore, the intellectual property belongs to the organization? That would that make DABUS an employee of the organization, giving the AI legal rights.AI being an ever learning system, what if DABUS further evolves and says no?

AI assisted patent intelligence

AI has impacted many industries, and Patents is no different. The major benefit of the AI would be to make the process more efficient and faster across all levels – the patent searching, patent examination and grant process, and even patent licensing. The patents data is very structured across the globe – there is a defined way to draft a patent, there are defined sections in patents that contain specific information.

If AI systems can help consume unstructured data and observe trends from it, absorbing patents data to identify patterns will be a relatively easy task for an AI engine. AI is already integrated in may patent searching tools today, and are making the searching process more and more efficient.

For the same search query, a search engine backed by AI results in less false positive results.AI based translation engines are making more and more patents accessible to public by translating patents to English. The Indian Patent Office is also interested in leveraging the AI based engines to make the patent granting process more efficient.


From the standpoint of patents, the AI is still in the nascent stage and we are yet to witness the full extent of the benefits it can provide. There is no denying that the AI systems will prove to be tremendously beneficial to everyone by making the process more efficient and faster. Also, the legislation across the globe seems to be the lagging behind, as most of the patent laws today were written in an era when AI was just a science fiction, which will need to be updated to match the recent phenomenon.

The author is Vice President, Effectual Services- Advisory firm that offers IP support solutions

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Articles, India, Industry News, Intellectual Property, IP industry

Covid19- Impact on Patent Filings in India

The coronaviruses that registered their first presence on the planet more than 50 years ago, recently became the hot topic of every conversation when the 7th known coronavirus, popularly known as Covid-19, took the entire world under its blanket and since then, every passing day adds to the horror of it as the tally of worldwide infected people increases with little to no promise of the development of a successful vaccine the next day. Covid-19 has brought an economical, health, financial as well as asocial crisis on every continent, country, state that none of them was prepared for and the only known counter-action to the governments, the “Lockdown,” has been cataclysmic for every business sector, from agriculture to IT, leaving them counting the costs. Although the world of intellectual property has successfully avoided a complete halt, the innovational pool has not been completely immune to the pandemic.

Covid-19 and Intellectual property: The after-effects

As stated above, the IP sector has so far managed to maintain the curve amidst the pandemic, but prolonged existence of the outbreak can nudge the IP and legal services domain to plummet as companies holding big IP portfolios are among the ones greatly affected by the virus and as a counter-act to tackle the declining economy, have started cost-cutting by minimizing the expenditure on maintenance of patents as well as prosecution. To further mitigate the expenditure, IP holders are even considering reducing the research costs as well as abandoning the holding of patents or the acquisition of new IP ideas.

Another after-effect of the pandemic can be an alarming reduction in the number of PCT applications filing as companies would refrain from spending extra bucks on patenting their innovation in every nation and would cleverly limit their filings to selective countries depending on their interests.

Further, the pandemic has affected the working of every patent and Trademark office from worldwide administrators like WIPO to every national PTO office.

The counterattack by IPO

As the virus continues to spread to more and more countries, IP offices throughout the world are taking countermeasures depending on their local landscape, to counter the effect of the pandemic on their working, operation procedures as well as the IP service practitioners. The Indian Patent and Trademark Office (IPO) along with other major PTOs like the European Patent Office (EPO), United Kingdom, and USPTO took the approach of extending the deadlines.

The Supreme court on March 23, took Suo Motucognizance over the concerns raised by the pandemic to debar them while keeping in mind the Social distancing norms issued by the Central Government and following that IPO has issued several notices to ensure the smooth dealing of IP related concerns.

Stimulating the Innovation curve amidst the pandemic

As the pandemic progresses towards more critical stages, the Indian IP office is expected to introduce policies to counter the impact and to provide relief as well as a ray of hope amidst the darkness to the IP holding companies and practitioners. Also, IP owners, holders, professionals, and practitioners are advised to manage their IP portfolio assiduously to identify and differentiate between their performing and non-performing assets and devise clever strategies to gain an upper foot in the post-pandemic environment. Further, it is important to seize and secure any essential IP concerning mass manufacturing of Crisis Critical (CC) Products.

Further, the likelihood of a surge in the growth of the intellectual property domain Post-COVID cannot be ignored as it will certainly push tech companies to go after incentivization of their portfolio via the licensing of their existing IP to refill their financial reserves.

To conclude, it can be said that the current scenario poses the potential threat of a downfall in the domain, but the perennial introduction of countermeasures by IPO as well as holding on to and investing in critical IP assets by the IP holders can prove as a potential opportunity of growth of the domain in the post-pandemic world.

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Articles, India, Intellectual Property, IP industry, Patent

Patent law: Transforming the telecommunications industry

The telecommunications industry is perhaps the largest driving force behind almost all other industries that benefit from it – it is the epicenter for a variety of other industries that depend on it. Remember how online payments of electricity bills, and online bank transactions 10 years back have now moved to apps sitting in our smartphone. Today, a smartphone is anything but a cell phone used for calling – the users depend on smartphones for many other things such as – remote working, ordering groceries and entertainment. Off late, the mobile phone has also become a wallet for many – perhaps, the demonetization provided the necessary impetus!

The largest and most widely used services by users currently are– video streaming, Internet of Things (IoT), and mobile payments. We took a deeper dive into each of these areas from a patenting activity standpoint and identified over 10,000 patent applications that are filed in India for these three technologies. Of these patent publications, almost 60% have been published in the past 5 years indicating an increased focus on innovation. The largest chunk of publications studied was accounted for by the mobile payments segment (~70% share) followed by the Video Streaming and IoT, roughly accounting for 15% each.

Interesting trends emerge upon looking at the owners of these patents – the overall top assignees in the patent dataset studied are – Qualcomm, Samsung and MasterCard. Collectively, these three players account for roughly 12% patents studied, thereby indicating that many other players are active in these areas and there is no single player that holds sizeable chunks of IP for now.

Digging deeper into the individual domains, the following trends emerge:

Mobile payments:

Top Players: Qualcomm, Mastercard and Alibaba group

Only Indian company making it to the top 10 list in this domain was Tata Consultancy Services

Video streaming:

Top Players: Qualcomm, Sony, Philips


Top Players: Samsung, Qualcomm, Lovely Professional University (LPU)

Notably, Academia also seems to have active interest in pursuing patent filings in this domain

The telecom value chain comprises of multiple segments – Device manufacturers, Infrastructure and platform vendors, Operators, etc. The patent activity from the operators seems to be on the lower side – our research was able to locate only 71 Indian patent publications from Reliance JioInfocomm, 32 from Vodafone and 7 from Bharti Airtel. The main reason for low patent activity may be due to the fact that these Operators put in very little or no research efforts, and they implement the technology developed by the Infrastructure and platform vendors.

Undoubtedly, the next big phenomenon in the telecom industry will be the 5G revolution. According to a report from Qualcomm, 5G is predicted to have US$13.2 Trillion dollars of global economic output by the year 2035. Perhaps, the Infrastructure and platform vendors have realized this since long and have been amassing 5G related patents at a phenomenal rate. The following are the approximate counts of patent families (global data) declared as relating to the 5G standards:

Huawei– 3000+ patents

Ericsson – 1400+ patents

Nokia – 2000+ patents

Qualcomm – 1300+ patents

Digging deeper, we also studied the likelihood of these patents entering into India eventually, and the following statistics emerge:

Company Total patent families – All years Patent families filed in India – All years % Total patent families – published>2015 Patent families filed in India – published>2015 %
Huawei 95,541 6,338 7 53,741 5,217 10
Ericsson 54,211 8,323 15 19,700 3,844 20
Nokia* 77,781 6,401 8 17,105 1,799 11
Qualcomm 59,449 21,205 36 34,922 11,116 32

(Source: research on a leading third-party patent database; *Alcatel Lucent data included)

5G did not come into existence overnight, and the research has been going on for a while, but the most patents related to 5G were published after 2016, and we can see that the % of filing in India is on the rise by most companies actively pursuing 5G, noting an active interest in India.

All in all, it can be safely concluded that patents have thus far played a big role in shaping Telecom industry, and are likely to play a more crucial role in the coming times, especially in the 5G licensing space – though it remains to be seen who, among the above giants, wins the race to the 5G patent dominance.

Patent law: Transforming the telecommunications industry Article by Amit Aggarwal Co-Founder and Director of Effectual Services.

Article was 1st published On Dataquest India

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Blog, Copyright, India, Intellectual Property, IP industry

Protecting AI inventions

When AI was first introduced, one of the founding fathers of the technology Professor John McCarthy said that: “AI is the science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs.” Since then, there has been a  vast amount of breakthrough research in the industry, which is evident from the fact that almost 386,428 related patent applications have been filed in this field (according to the Derwent database).

AI as an inventor

From tools and services to products and consultancies, AI has created a number of revenue-generating opportunities. It has already simplified a number of tasks and now, with the help of neural networks, it is inventing new ways to solve problems. Further, certain privileges have been granted to corporate entities (eg, Facebook and Google) so that they can defend themselves in court. It therefore follows that AI should be able to own its patents. However, debate is ongoing and requires considering where the line between creation by human and machine should be drawn and how much (or little) human input or guidance is required.

Recently, there was a case where the EPO refused European patent applications EP18275163 and EP18275174, which designated DABUS – a machine described as “a type of connectionist artificial intelligence” – as an inventor. One application was for a new type of beverage container based on fractal geometry and the other was for a device for attracting enhanced attention signals, which could be helpful in search and rescue operations. Similarly, the USPTO and UKIPO have disqualified patent applications on the grounds that a non-human cannot hold inventorship as per these countries’ laws.

Protection for AI inventions

When IP laws were formed, it was beyond imagination to consider naming a machine as an inventor. So how can AI inventions be protected in the current IP system? For the time being, this falls under copyright and trade secret laws.


According to basic guidance in the Compendium of US Copyright Office Practices, works produced by a machine with no creative input or intervention from a human cannot be given authorship. Though the computer programs responsible for autonomously generating works are the result of human ingenuity, their source code may be copyrighted as a literary work under the US Copyright Act. In other recent cases, the Shenzhen Court ruled that AI-generated articles are entitled to copyright protection. The Shenzhen Nanshan District People’s Court recently ruled in favour of plaintiff Shenzhen Tencent Computer System Co Ltd in its claim for copyright infringement against Shanghai Yingmou Technology Co Ltd for an article written by AI software Dreamwriter. Ownership and accountability of AI for copyright IP protection is still under debate and is being discussed in many IP offices.

Trade secrets

AI models, tools and data can be kept as trade secrets. Currently, trade secret laws may be used to protect any derived data or additional software code created by the AI. This offers the competitive advantage of avoiding a need for public disclosure of information. Further, proprietary technology lasts longer than patent protection. Trade secrets may provide the broadest scope of IP protection, including information such as algorithms, source code, methods, techniques, processes and the way a business utilises AI to implement machine learning. Also, trade secrets provide immediate protection, without the costly or lengthy registration process required by other forms of intellectual property. Trade secret protection might be well-suited for rapidly developing and improving AI inventions.

Reaching new heights in the AI world

The right AI innovation can bring a company leagues above the competition. Trade secret and copyright protection should be considered when developing an effective AI protection strategy. As more organisations are investing in the development of a robust and well-structured AI protection strategy, they will be in a leading position to enforce their IP rights. Further, when infringement and misappropriation occur, they will be prepared and – more importantly – they will be in an advantageous position to prevent unlawful conduct.

For further information contact:

Prashant Singhal
Effectual Knowledge Services Pvt Ltd
View website

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Protecting AI and machine-learning inventions

“Artificial Intelligence is a new digital frontier that will have a profound impact on the world, transforming the way we live and work” – Francis Gurry, WIPO director general

Technological advances in smart machines and computers are having a huge impact on the banking, business, communication, defence, education, internet, medical and transport sectors. They are becoming dependent on AI technology to collect and analyse historical data. Further, neural networks are being developed to use the processing power of computers to replicate the intelligence and learning capabilities of the human brain. Examples of these processes are self-driving vehicles, product recommendations on e-commerce websites and fraud detection.

Growing competition to develop AI has forced major jurisdictions to amend their patent laws – for example, it led India to provide statutory protection to software through the Copyright Act.

AI is the future

According to WIPO, machine learning is the most dominant feature of AI and is mentioned in more than 40% of all AI-related patents filed worldwide, with a very high growth rate of 28% between 2013 and 2016. Further, use of the term ‘neural network’ grew at a rate of 46% over the same period. The top three fields in which machine learning-related patent applications were filed were telecommunications (more than 51, 273), transport (50,861) and life and medical sciences fields (40,758). This shows that there is a future in AI and the protection of AI-based inventions is therefore of utmost importance to inventors and innovators around the globe.

‘Computer program per se’ versus protecting AI inventions

‘Computer program per se’ means a computer program without hardware implementation, which is considered to be a mathematical model, business method, presentation of information or a scheme. As AI falls into this category, it is therefore deemed unpatentable in all major jurisdictions. However, these inventions can be protected by linking the computer program to a hardware or computer network since it may include certain other things, which are ancillary to or developed through the program. Therefore, when drafting AI or machine learning-based inventions, it is worth showing real-world application rather than an abstract idea.

For instance, a machine learning model may be deemed a mathematical model or abstract idea and is therefore unpatentable. However, the model embedded in a self-driving vehicle for automatic detection of a route can be considered to provide a technical enhancement to self-driving vehicles and thus meets the patentability criteria. Inventors around the globe are encouraged to link AI with practical applications and innovate AI-assisted technology.

Since AI-based inventions can be categorised as abstract ideas, a solution-based approach should be kept in mind when drafting patent applications. Here are some tips:

  • Link the solution to a practical application.
  • Include a system architecture, which illustrates that all hardware elements are connected via a network, which can provide additional support for any objection on unpatentability during prosecution stages. Inclusion of the system architecture proves the hardware and/or the computer network link, thus making it patentable.
  • Draft a system claimshowing that limitations to hardware provide additional proof of the hardware limitations of the AI-based invention. The system claim may include a memory, an interface and a processor configured to implement an algorithm stored in the memory.

Advantages of patenting AI inventions rather than protection under copyrights

Patenting can be expensive and, while it has its advantages over copyright protection, AI-based computer programs can be protected under copyright law as they can be considered as literary works. Patenting an AI-based invention provides a broader scope of protection and covers the logic of the invention, while copyright merely protects the inventor against an entity copying the literary work (computer program). A patented technology is considered to have commercial value, particularly if it leads to acquisition or licensing deals (eg, Vertex.AI (which had a strong AI-related patent portfolio)), and was later acquired by Intel Labs, citing key benefits as IP rights owned by Vertex.AI.

Patenting activity for AI and machine learning-based applications has steadily increased in the last few years. In fact, the number of AI-based patent publications nearly doubled in 2018 and 2019 as compared with the previous years, as Table 1 illustrates.

AI/machine learning-based patent publications per year (USPTO)

For further information contact:

Amit Goel
Effectual Knowledge Services Pvt Ltd
View website

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Will Blockchain and AI revolutionize Patent Analysis in India?

Indian Patent office is working on using Blockchain, AI and IoT to make the patent process smoother. Will it be the right time to do so?

Blockchain and AI are the buzzwords off late, the former quickly rose to the limelight due to the Bitcoin saga and the latter is finding its way into people’s life as we speak – be it through smartphone cameras or while browsing the Internet.

Simply speaking – blockchain is an indestructible ledger associated with an asset, that builds over time and remains with the asset.

This opens up a variety of applications – tracking the ownership, checking for any sale and transaction of the asset, tracking whether an asset was illegally sold etc. With so many industries experimenting with the blockchain technology to make it work for them – Patent industry is no different.

Some notable early starters who seem to have started service offerings in this area are – an Estonian company, Agrello, is trying to implement blockchain in creating smarter contracts. Another company, Binded is trying to leverage blockchain to serve as a proof of copyright. Another player, Bernstein is trying to leverage blockchain for management of Intellectual Property such as patents.

In addition to blockchain, the other upcoming technology – the AI, is also quickly percolating in the field of Intellectual Property and patents. Some early adopters were the companies that provide searchable databases for patents across the globe – for example, an Australian player Ambercite, uses AI engine to search for patents, that allegedly throws little or no noise, making the overall process of searching and analyzing patents very efficient.

Not only the commercial players, the Patent offices across the globe are also leveraging the technologies to unlock potential benefits. For example, The US patent office implemented AI engine to suggest patent classes that should be searched to make the process more efficient. The European Patent Office implemented a tool that is able to translate patents published in 32 languages into English.

The Indian patent office seems to be no exception – there was tender announced by IPO, “Expression of Interest for Making use of Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, IoT and other latest technologies in Patent Processing system of IPO”.

In this tender, the IPO has expressed interest in leveraging technologies, including Blockchain, AI and IoT (Internet of Things) to make the patent process smoother. When the envisioned system is ready it will enable a Blockchain-AI based ecosystem for managing IP protection in India, which will be much more efficient, smooth and faster.

But this is all but a beginning and the road to be traveled is very long – the fundamental principle of an AI powered system is one in which a “training set” and an “expected output set” is provided to every AI engine for it to calibrate itself – thereafter, the AI based engine can thus operate on another dataset, in real time, to produce the same desired output.

All this sounds good for a highly structured data, but the patents are very unique – they are tehnno-legal documents that can be very diverse, even though they relate to same technical domain.

The question is, would we need an AI-backed engine for every class of technology? If yes, what is the level at which we need to define technology – Is “automobile” a suitable level technology for AI or one needs an AI engine for each component of an automobile such as Engine etc.

Also, with fast moving technologies such as Electronics and Computer Science – the terminology included in patents also changes pretty quickly – how frequently such AI engines needs to be recalibrated?

All in all, we can safely say that both AI and blockchain are in very early stages – and though not without potential, it will be some time before we see the full extent of the benefits it can extend to the patent sector.

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Blog, India, Intellectual Property, IP industry

Patents Applications In India: Provisions And Importance For Startups

Technology has played a major part in the advancements of patents in India

Make in India has positively affected the patent applications in India both in terms of filing by Indian applicants and foreign applicants.Under Startup India, Startups become eligible for benefits such as 80% rebate on patent fees.

With the development of human intellect, technology, and the rising importance of ideas or creativity over products or resources, a need for laws to protect the valuable ideas and creativity emerged. This led to the awareness regarding intellectual property and intellectual property laws in various countries including India.

Under the Patents Act, 1970, the Government of India allows protection of ideas and creativity under various classes of intellectual properties including patents, industrial design, trademarks, geographical indication, copyrights, semiconductor chips, and trade secrets. However, inventions are generally protected under patents.


Economically Significant Inventions (Added Value In India)

Similar to other jurisdictions, a patent, in India, is an exclusive right granted by the Indian Patent Office (IPO) for an invention that is new, involves inventive step, and has an industrial application linked to it. The inventive step, according to the Patents Act, 1970, means a feature of an invention that involves technical advancement as compared to the existing knowledge, similar to other major jurisdictions.

However, as compared to other jurisdictions, India leverages another factor i.e. an economic significance of the invention over the existing knowledge as an inventive step.

This special provision in India, significantly affects the grant of patents, as inventions that are capable of producing/manufacturing a product with no technical advancement but the reduced cost may be given protection by the IPO.

India Provides Unification Of Laws Around The World

India is a signatory country of international treaties such as Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), Budapest Treaty, Paris Convention, and Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). A patent application can be filed either under the Paris Convention or the PCT. The patent application filed under PCTis termed as an international patent application.

The Paris Convention, in particular, allows a time period of 12 months for filing a patent application in various Paris Convention bound countries. On the other hand, the PCT allows a time period of 30/31 months for filing a patent application in various PCT bound countries.

Such additional time proves very helpful as the applicant may utilize this time to seek funding, perform market research, and turn an idea into a commercial product during this time without losing the priority rights of the patent application.

Further, the PCT permits a centralized prosecution of the patent application before a single patent office, and may be used to reduce a number of objections that may be raised later, by respective patent offices of various countries in which the application is filed eventually, thereby the PCT may lower prosecution cost of the patent application in various countries.

Government Schemes

Government of India (GOI) has been making patent-friendly scheme and policies. One such major scheme has been Startup India, launched on January 16, 2016, to promote development and innovation in products and services in India. Under Startup India, Startups become eligible for benefits such as 80% rebate on patent fees. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), on behalf of startups, bears this cost and provides rebate in the statutory fees for filing applications.

Apart from Startup India, Make in India has positively affected the patent applications in India both in terms of filing by Indian applicants and foreign applicants. Since, there is no patent that provides protection internationally, the countries with their own production and manufacturing units have been the areas of interest for the applicants under Make In India, throughout the world. The Make in India, in conjunction with the target base of more than 130 crores, makes India one of the biggest markets in the world.

Indian Patent Office (IPO) provides an option for early publication of patent application, which enables patent application to be published within one month from date of making such request. Early publication facilitates advantages like Faster prosecution time and Discouraging competitors.

Other Factors For Importance Of Filing The Patent Application In India

  • India is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and is projected to be the second-largest economy by 2050. Therefore, India is one of the biggest candidates for utilizing, and producing future technologies and inventions which should be protected through patents in India.
  • India is a prime target of Fortune 500 companies because of being one of the world’s biggest market for various technical fields such as gadgets, fashion, parametrical, medical apparatus, automobiles, etc.
  • Protecting the inventions related to telecommunication, electronics, computers, pharmaceutical, medical apparatus, automobile, and fashion will turn out into utmost importance for concerned industries, due to vast consumer base of Indian economy.

Current Scenarios Of The Patents In India

  • Number of patents filed in India has been constantly increasing across past 5 years.

  • Number of patents granted in India has been constantly increasing across past 5 years

  • Number of patents examined in India has quadrupled in past 5 years.


In India patent filling should be considered based on the Applicant’s interest and actions taken, the early publication provision may be exercised at the discretion of Applicant in order to enrich value of the patent. The patent publication date is important as the applicant’s advantages, as well as patent rights, start into consideration from the date of patent publication.  It should be also be noticed that the early publication seems to be effective non-expensive method to expedite the prosecution process.

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