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Friday, January 04, 2019

Technologies for Licensing from IOC RandD centre

Indian Oil's  R&D Centre is India's foremost commercial centre of research excellence in the areas of lubricants, refinery processes, pipeline transportation, alternative fuels fuel additives, engine testing, materials sciences and environmental sciences. Indian Oil holds 554 active patents in India & Foreign countries.
Example: Mosquito Larvicidal Oil composition
Disclosed is a very effective non-toxic mosquito larvicidal oil (MLO) composition which eliminates mosquito larvae and pupae by suffocating them, when the composition is applied on stagnant water surface. It is bio-degradable as well as non-toxic to plant and animals, particularly fish, in the area of its application. It poses no danger to human beings because it does not enter into the human food chain. The MLO forms an unbreakable thin film on the water surface. This film prevents the larvae and pupae present in the water from breathing in oxygen from the air above. Consequently, they die of suffocation within a short period. lit is devoid of side effects like pesticide resistance, resurgence of pests and numerous undesirable effects on flora and fauna that are common in similar mosquito larvicidal oil compositions. The MLO is an optimized combination of mineral oils and surfactants emulsifiers for excellent spreading and film formation characteristics. The mineral oil can be paraffinic or naphthenic, hydrocracked or mixture of these. The surfactants/emulsifiers are required for the spontaneous spreading of the oil layer over water surface and stability of the oil film after application on water surface.
Check list of technologies available for commercialisation here

Friday, December 28, 2018

Improving Technology Commercialisation- strategy papers from India and USA

Towards close of 2018, we see two important strategy papers. NITI Aayog released paper titled- Strategy for New India. NIST released paper titled- Return on Investment Initiative forUnleashing American Innovation. Commercialisation of technology developed in universities with public funding is one of the issues.
What India says
“Lab to Land” time is too long. Renowned public funded institutions like the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) etc., along with prominent universities across the country, have developed many frontline technologies. However, the rate of transfer of these technologies to industry and for societal benefits is low. The major weaknesses of public funded R&D and technology institutions like CSIR, DRDO, BARC, ICMR and ISRO are their poor marketing skills and information dissemination. Some measures for enhancing technology commercialization by public funded institutions are provided below: 
1. Value addition centres may be set up in each of these institutions for (i) up-scaling technologies, (ii) improving technologies from Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 4 to TRL 6/7, (iii) demonstrating industrial scale pilot production, (iv) coordinating with investors to incubate entrepreneurs, (v) bridging the gap between industry and technology development teams, (vi) enabling formal technology transfer, (vii) enabling commercialization and marketing and (viii) providing technology support during production. 
2. DST should create a National Technology Data Bank in coordination with all publicly funded R&D institutions. This will provide a central database for technologies that are ready for deployment or under development. 
3.Public funded research institutions should consider shifting their focus to the development and deployment of socially relevant technologies in areas such as clean drinking water, sanitation, energy, affordable healthcare, organic farming, etc. These technologies have large potential for commercialization.
What Americans say:
Measures of technology transfer in the U.S. from 1996 to 2015 demonstrate over $1 trillion in economic growth and millions of new jobs. Critical technologies such as life-saving drugs, vaccines, and medical devices, the internet, global positioning system or GPS, and countless other innovations underpinning every aspect of the American way of life are traceable to groundbreaking work at Federal Laboratories, federally funded universities, and private sector R&D organizations. Removing impediments to effective technology transfer and collaboration will accelerate economic value creation. The PMA includes the Lab-to-Market (L2M) cross agency priority (CAP) goal, which aims to improve the transfer of technology from federally funded R&D to the private sector to promote U.S. economic growth and national security. The L2M CAP Goal is organized around the five strategies, which also serve as the organization for the chapters in this green paper: 
1. Identify regulatory impediments and administrative improvements in Federal technology transfer policies and practices; 
2. Increase engagement with private sector technology development experts and investors; 3. Build a more entrepreneurial R&D workforce; 
4. Support innovative tools and services for technology transfer; and 
5. Improve understanding of global science and technology trends and benchmarks.

Indian strategy document is silent on engaging private sector. Can government funded institutes scale up technology from TRL 4 to TRL 6 without involvement of private sector?

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

World Intellectual Property Indicators 2018 : creative economy

Applicants around the world filed almost 3.17 million patent applications in 2017. From 1883 to 1963, the patent office of the U.S. was the leading office for world filings. Application numbers in Japan and the U.S. were stable until the early 1970s, when Japan began to see rapid growth – a pattern also observed for the U.S. from the 1980s onward. Among the top five offices, Japan surpassed the U.S. in 1968 and maintained the top position until 2005. Since the early 2000s, however, the number of applications filed in Japan has followed a downward trend. Both the EPO and the Republic of Korea have seen increases each year since the early 1980s, as has China since 1995. China surpassed the EPO and the Republic of Korea in 2005, Japan in 2010 and the U.S. in 2011 – and it now receives the largest number of applications worldwide. Applicants from China filed around 1.31 million equivalent patent applications in 2017, which is more than the combined total for applicants from Japan (460,660), the Republic of Korea (226,568) and the U.S. (524,835). Those four origins, plus Germany (176,235), accounted for the bulk of the global total. However, it should be noted that only 4.6% of all applications from China are filed abroad, while 95.4% are filed in China. In contrast, filings abroad constitute 43.5% of total applications from Japan and 44% from the U.S.
In 2017, an estimated 1.4 million patents were granted worldwide, up 3.9% on 2016 figures, and represent 17 consecutive years of growth (see figure 1.7). China (420,144) issued the largest number of patents in 2017, followed by the U.S. (318,829), Japan (199,577), the Republic of Korea (120,662) and the EPO (105,645). These five offices issued more than 1.16 million patents between them – 83% of the world total.  India granted 50.2% more patents in 2017 than in 2016, with grants increasing from 8,248 in 2016 to 12,387 in 2017. Non-resident grants accounted for 85% of the total increase.

Applicants from China were the most active applicants in the world in 2017, filing 4,041 plant variety applications. This represents a 48.6% growth in filing activity for Chinese applicants – the fastest growth among the top 10 origins. They were followed by applicants from the Netherlands, who filed 3,320 applications. The U.S. (2,084), France (1,068) and Germany (865) were ranked third, fourth and fifth largest origins, respectively.
Creative Economy:  Data on the 2017 revenues generated by the three sectors – trade, educational and STM – are available for 11 countries. Those 11 countries generated USD 248 billion revenue in 2017. China (USD 202.4 billion) reported the largest net revenue, followed by the United States of America (U.S.) (USD 25.9 billion), Germany (USD 5.8 billion) and the United Kingdom (U.K.) (USD 4.7 billion)
(source: WIPO)

Monday, November 19, 2018

Agri-Startups India

Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (FICCI)-PwC Knowledge Report on Agri-Start-ups: Innovations for boosting the Future of Agriculture in India, was launched by Suresh Prabhu, minister of commerce and industry, Government of India, at the International Conference and Awards for Innovations by Agri Start-ups organised by FICCI in New Delhi. High lights:

  • India houses a total of 366 agri based start-ups, of which over 50 per cent came into existence in 2015 and 2016. The combined revenue of all agritech start-ups in India is estimated to be less than $100 million whereas global market is worth $350 billion. Geographically, Karnataka and Maharashtra together account for almost 50 per cent of the total number of agri start-ups opened in the last five years.
  • Big data based agri start-ups:Development of farm-specific, data-driven diagnostics to determine soil and crop health has come up as a big opportunity area. Start-ups are leveraging drones or tractor-based solutions to get data (both on weather and agricultural) on field to determine risk. Growing smartphone penetration will enable precise decision making in farming activity, helping farmers to drive increased productivity and revenue while reducing unit costs.
  • Start-ups developed around the market linkage model: Innovations must be included to help farmers with timely and accurate estimation of sowing and harvesting in sync with consumer demand patterns. Such linkages operate at the two critical ends of the supply chain: input and output models. These models aim to link producers to remunerative sourcing agencies for procurement and to profitable buyers for output sales.
  • Start-ups developed around Farming as a Service (FAAS): Specific farm practices are being identified for provision of technological breakthrough services. Activities such as equipment renting and crop care practices are areas likely to see market traction. FAAS seeks to provide affordable technology solutions for efficient farming. It converts fixed costs into variable costs for farmers, thus making the techniques more affordable for a majority of small farmers. Its services are available on a subscription or payper-use basis in three broad categories, which are crucial across the agriculture value chain.
  • IoT enabled technology based agri start-ups: Smart farming, including high-precision crop control, data collection, and automated farming techniques, will remove inefficiencies and bolster productivity. Information on crop yields, rainfall patterns, pest infestation and soil nutrition can be used to improve farming techniques over time. Low capex for predominantly software based solutions is the key feature for such solutions.

Download the report.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Draft National Policy on Electronics 2018 (NPE 2018)- what is new?

In the long wish list, there are few statements/ intentions that stand out.

  • Admission:  Replacing M-SIPS scheme with schemes that are easier to implement such as Interest subsidy and Credit default guarantee, etc., in order to encourage new units and expansion of existing units in electronics manufacturing sector.(5.1.4).
  • Contradicting: Exempt the import duty on identified capital equipment not being manufactured in the country, to reduce capital expenditure for setting up/ expansion of existing units.(5.1.6). Levy Cess on identified electronic goods to be considered to generate resources for promotion of certain critical sub-sectors of electronics manufacturing such as semiconductor wafer fabrication and display fabrication units.(5.1.9).
  • Confusion persists: Promote path-breaking research, grass root level innovations and early stage Start-ups in emerging technology areas such as....having major economic potential, with a special focus on applying the outcomes, including frugal solutions, to solve real-life problems. (5.6.1)
  • Daring: ...acquire & pool, Core and Peripheral IPs and make them available to the Industry (5.6.4). Promote investment in mega facilities abroad, such as an existing FAB facility, including support for setting up of R&D units abroad, where eco-system exists for a particular technology.(5.15).
Download document. Comment by 15th November 2018.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

EPO guidelines on AI

EPO release guidelines on the patentability of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are based on computational models and algorithms for classification, clustering, regression and dimensionality reduction, such as neural networks, genetic algorithms, support vector machines, k-means, kernel regression and discriminant analysis.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning find applications in various fields of technology. For example, the use of a neural network in a heart-monitoring apparatus for the purpose of identifying irregular heartbeats makes a technical contribution. The classification of digital images, videos, audio or speech signals based on low-level features (e.g. edges or pixel attributes for images) are further typical technical applications of classification algorithms. Classifying text documents solely in respect of their textual content is however not regarded to be per se a technical purpose but a linguistic one (T 1358/09). Classifying abstract data records or even "telecommunication network data records" without any indication of a technical use being made of the resulting classification is also not per se a technical purpose, even if the classification algorithm may be considered to have valuable mathematical properties such as robustness (T 1784/06).

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Global Young Scientists Challenge 2018 (GYSC)

With a view to improve ideas with cross-pollination, Global Young Scientists Challenge was held in India on 8th & 9th September 2018. Science projects of hundred students from India, Malaysia, Laos, China, Russia, Philippines were show cased. International jury headed by Dr Zengpei, CIA, China selected the winners. Awards were presented by Minister for Human Resources of Andhra Pradesh , Sri Ganta Srinivara Rao on 9th.

Drone Regulations 1.0- India

Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which monitors India’s drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) ecosystem has released India’s drone policy called Drone Regulations 1.0, that dictates a process for creating an unmanned air traffic control system for running drones in the low-altitude airspace. These regulations will enable the safe, commercial usage of drones starting December 1, 2018. 
Drone Regulations 1.0 are intended to enable visual line-of-sight daytime-only and a maximum of 400 ft altitude operations. Air space has been partitioned into Red Zone (flying not permitted), Yellow Zone (controlled airspace), and Green Zone (automatic permission). 
Instead of simply digitizing a paper-based process for registering and operating drones, India has formulated an all-digital process. The Digital Sky Platform is the first-of-its-kind national unmanned traffic management (UTM) platform that implements “no permission, no takeoff” (NPNT). Users will be required to do a one-time registration of their drones, pilots and owners. For every flight (exempted for the nano category), users will be required to ask for permission to fly on a mobile app and an automated process permits or denies the request instantly. To prevent unauthorized flights and to ensure public safety, any drone without a digital permit to fly will simply not be able to takeoff. The UTM operates as a traffic regulator in the drone airspace and coordinates closely with the defense and civilian air traffic controllers (ATCs) to ensure that drones remain on the approved flight paths.
Key features of Drone Regulations 1.0 are:
Notification of Final Regulations for Civil Use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has issued today the Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) for civil use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) commonly known as drones. The regulation was developed after extensive consultations among various stakeholders, and will be effective from 1st December, 2018.
As per the regulation, there are 5 categories of RPAS categorized by weight, namely nano, micro, small, medium and large.
Operational/ Procedural Requirements:
All RPAS except nano and those owned by NTRO, ARC and Central Intelligence Agencies are to be registered and issued with Unique Identification Number (UIN).
Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP) shall be required for RPA operators except for nano RPAS operating below 50 ft., micro RPAS operating below 200 ft., and those owned by NTRO, ARC and Central Intelligence Agencies.
The mandatory equipment required for operation of RPAS except nano category are (a) GNSS (GPS), (b) Return-To-Home (RTH), (c) Anti-collision light, (d) ID-Plate, (e)  Flight controller with flight data logging capability, and (f) RF ID and SIM/ No-Permission No Take off (NPNT).
As of now, RPAS to operate within visual line of sight (VLoS), during day time only, and upto maximum 400 ft. altitude.
For flying in controlled Airspace, filing of flight plan and obtaining Air Defence Clearance (ADC) /Flight Information Centre (FIC) number shall be necessary.
Minimum manufacturing standards and training requirements of Remote Pilots of small and above categories of RPAS have been specified in the regulation.
No Drone Zones:
The regulation defines “No Drone Zones” around airports;near international border, Vijay Chowk in Delhi; State Secretariat Complex in State Capitals, strategic locations/vital and military installations; etc.
Operations through Digital Platform:
Operations of RPAS to be enabled through Digital Sky Platform. The RPAS operations will be based on NPNT (No Permission, No Take off). The details including links for the digital sky platform shall be available in DGCA website from 1st December, 2018. There will be different colour zones visible to the applicant while applying in the digital sky platform, viz, Red Zone: flying not permitted, Yellow Zone (controlled airspace): permission required before flying, and Green Zone (uncontrolled airspace): automatic permission.
Enforcement Actions:
The enforcement actions are, (a) suspension/ cancellation of UIN/ UAOP in case of violation of regulatory provisions, (b) actions as per relevant Sections of the Aircraft Act 1934, or Aircraft Rules, or any statutory provisions, and (c) penalties as per applicable IPCs (such as 287, 336, 337, 338, or any relevant section of IPC).