In response to the newspaper article titled "Bridging the innovation gap" dated 4th November 2014.
The article published on 4 November in The Hindu proposes an improvement in intellectual property rights to bridge the innovation gap India experiences today. The author cites Global Innovation Index to compare five of the BRICS countries and states that 'India fell to 76th position while Russia jumped ahead by 13 spots, placing 49th'. On the basis of GII report and R&D investment, the report concludes that India is lagging behind the other BRICS countries primarily due to poor IPR. However, the empirical basis of his conclusion is absent. When we look at the Intellectual Property Rights Index, prepared by the Hernando de Soto Fellowship Programme, we also do not find much to support the conclusion.
According to this report, on a 10 point scale, India, Brazil and China score the same (5.5) in terms of the composite Intellectual Property Rights Index. Russia scores much lower (4.8). The index is composed of three elements – Legal and Political environment, Physical Property Rights and of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). In terms of the third component, namely, the IPR, India scores at par with Brazil, reasonably better than (4.8) Russia, and only slightly less (5.4) than China. Within IPR, when we look at 'patent protection', India scores 7.5 which is, once again, higher than Russia (and Brazil). South Africa's score is only slightly better, and China scores one point higher.
Thus, locating India's poor performance in innovations in IPR and patent protections, especially among BRICS countries, can be misleading, and diverts our attention from several more important factors required to boost India's innovation ecosystem. It seems to serve merely a political point, perhaps.
Deep Jyoti Francis
Center for Studies in Science Policy
Jawaharlal Nehru University