Patents are Windows or they are Walls: Open Licensing of Publicly-funded Research
29 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2019 Last revised: 15 Feb 2019
Date Written: October 9, 2017
For a government organisation established with the primary objective of collection and dissemination of information on research, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) files and maintains the highest number of patents for any publicly funded research organisation in India. Given its goal of dissemination of research, the incessant filing of patents with unascertained returns appears to be counter-productive. We identify the shift in CSIR’s approach to research as a move from dissemination to patenting and attribute it to the change in management style and to extraneous pressures. The mismatch between CSIR’s foundational objectives and its patenting policy makes it an ideal case for analysing the objectives of patents created by publicly-funded research. We look at recent examples from the private sector of patent holders issuing a Patent Non-Assertion Pledge and offering their technology through different forms of open licences and conclude that to achieve its stated objectives of dissemination of information on research, the preferable recourse for CSIR should be an open licensing policy for all its patents.
Keywords: patents, public fund, CSIR
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