DRDO has announced zero license fees for its 639 patents i.e., the technologies claimed in these patents can be used by Indian industries/companies to manufacture or sell the products based on these technologies. The companies do not have to pay any license fees or royalty fees to DRDO if they are using these technologies. Therefore, this is a big boost for the Indian industries.
Let us analyze the portfolio which is under zero license fees to gain some key insights:
The top six categories under which these patents fall is shown below:
Let us have a look at two of the major categories – (1) Life Sciences and (2) Naval Systems & Materials
Nowadays, to make a robust defense system, it should be ensured that the cutting-edge weapon systems and platforms also optimize the integral human component of the war machine in terms of psychological, physiological and nutritional well-being. Therefore, DRDO is more focused on patents related to life sciences to cater to the aforementioned situation. It can also be seen from the chart above that the majority of the patents (under zero license fees scheme) are from life sciences domain.
Few Indian companies that can manufacture the products related to defense systems using life sciences technology are:
MTAR Technologies - MTAR provides all the manufacturing solutions such as advanced machining, specialized fabrication, assembly & testing, heat treatment, special processes such as painting and surface treatment.
Data Patterns - Data Patterns is a vertically integrated Defense and Aerospace electronics solutions provider catering to the indigenously developed defense products industry.
Naval Systems & Materials
After Life Sciences category, ‘Naval Systems & Materials’ category has the most of number patents in freely licensed portfolio. These patents relate to technology that provides cutting edge naval and material solutions for the Armed Forces.
The Reliance Naval and Engineering Limited (RNAVAL) of Reliance Industries is one of the Indian Companies which could benefit from these patents to manufacture their products. RNAVAL is a private sector company in India that obtains the license(s) and contract(s) to build warships.
How these patents have been filed over the years?
Below is the filing trend of the patents:
As can be seen from the chart that ~67% of patents have been filed after 2009, so there is substantial amount of time left for the patents to expire. This shows that the technology is still in its prime and if implemented well by the industry leaders can create a significant impact, otherwise, generally in technology space, it has been witnessed that the patents which are either in the last phase of getting expired or have already expired, are at a good likelihood that those innovations have become obsolete. Therefore, it’s a great initiative from DRDO to license out these patents for free.
Top IPCs in which these patents have been filed
Top IPCs in which these have been filed are show below:
A61K: PREPARATIONS FOR MEDICAL, DENTAL, OR TOILET PURPOSES (devices or methods specially adapted for bringing pharmaceutical products into particular physical or administering forms A61J3/00; chemical aspects of, or use of materials for deodorisation of air, for disinfection or sterilisation, or for bandages, dressings, absorbent pads or surgical articles A61L; soap compositions C11D)
C07D: HETEROCYCLIC COMPOUNDS
C07C: ACYCLIC OR CARBOCYCLIC COMPOUNDS
B23B: TURNING; BORING (arrangements for copying or controlling B23Q)
Conclusion: This DRDO’s initiative to license out its patent portfolio for free, gives a boost to the Indian companies to manufacture products related to advanced technologies. These products can strengthen India’s stance in terms of defense products. Other research institutes like ISRO, BARC etc. can take a leaf out of DRDO’s book to take initiatives like this, so that the industry and economy get benefitted from this.