Electronics is an important part of engineering and every gadget we use today has an electronic circuit or hardware unit which is the core part of today’s technology growth. So, electronics is associated with all the inventions.
In terms of economic growth of a country, electronics industry plays a crucial role. In 2012, Indian government introduced NATIONAL ELECTRONICS POLICY (NPE 2012) with the main objective to promote the electronics sector of the country and to enhance the Electronic System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) business. In 2019, National electronics policy 2019 was released, built on the platform of NPE 2012.1
NPE 2019 aims towards a turnover of $400 billion in domestic electronics manufacturing by 2025, along with promoting ease-of-doing business for the entire ESDM sector, and encouraging industry-led research and development and innovation in all sub-sectors of electronics. The policy also proposed replacing of the M-SIPS (Modified Special Incentive Package 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”.
Impact on IPR
Before we analyze the effect of NPE on IPR in the country, let us define IPR (intellectual property rights) and its importance in the industrial sector. Anything which originates from an idea, which is novel and takes form into a tangible product can be protected under IPR regime. These products, which are novel and not obvious to someone skilled in the art and which are applicable to industrial use (pre requisites of qualifying as patent sec 2(j) of the Patents Act, 1970)2 acts like an insurance to Industries. Intellectual properties are intangible assets to one’s business, which indeed increase the economy rate of the country. It is noteworthy that electronics in India are protected under Patents and SICLD (Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout-Design). The product with electronic hardware which is novel, technically advanced over already known art and useful can be protected under The Patents Act 1970. The layout of the Integrated circuit which is the main building block of an electronic hardware unit can be protected under Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout-Design Act 2000. This act is developed because the topography of Integrated Semi-Conductor Circuit is excluded from patentable inventions under section 3(o) of The Patents Act 1970.
There are only two registered layout designs till date under SICLD act 20003:
- 50-60 GHz Sub Harmonic IQ Mixer
- 8 port Micro-controller (BE.80501)
To better understand the main objectives of NPE 2019, other than increasing the economy in ESDM market, it also aims towards the development of Startups in emerging technologies like 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence with a special focus of applying the outcomes of innovative products to solve real life problems. In addition, NPE 2019 encourages industry led R&D and innovations in all sub-sectors of electronics and this policy also proposed creation of a sovereign patent fund (SPF), a State-led investment fund that will acquire Intellectual Property (IP) assets important to national economic objectives.
The SPF can provide high-level IP support and expertise to Indian enterprises, which themselves may be unable to afford it, so it helps to generate new businesses based on the IP assets owned by Indian corporates. This objective of NPE 2019 encourages the startups towards acquiring more number of patents. The number of Patents granted aid in economic growth.
If we look at the filing in this domain, it can be observed that there is a rapid growth in patent filing and it has steadily increased from the year 2005. The patent filing increased from 4424 to 6443 from year 2012 to 2017 and granted patents increased from 510 to 1049 from 2012 to 2017 which is more than 50% in electronics domain.4
Let us see a few granted patents in electronics engineering in the year 2017 – the following patents are process patents:
1. “Improved coding/ decoding of a digital audio signal, in CELP technique” (patent number 280081)5 – IPC code: G10L19/10
This patent specifies the improved algorithm for coding and decoding of the digital audio signal using one of the prominent speech coding technique (CELP). Let us look at the independent claims of the patent:
1. A method of constructing a codebook of CELP-type excitation vectors for coding/decoding digital audio signals, each vector of dimension N comprising pulses that can occupy N valid positions, characterized in that an initial codebook is constructed by:
providing a common sequence of pulses forming a basic pattern, and assigning the basic pattern to each excitation vector of the codebook, based on one or more occurrences at one or more respective positions out of said N valid positions.
6. The method as claimed in one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the patterns appearing at the block edge of a vector are truncated and the remaining pulses of the truncated patterns occupy the start or the end of the block.
7. The method as claimed in one of the preceding claims, characterized in that, among the positions accepted for the patterns in each block of a vector, the pattern positions are such that the patterns overlap at least partially, and in that the pulses of the patterns that overlap are added one to one.
8. The method as claimed in one of the preceding claims, characterized in that a global codebook is constructed by a summation of base codebooks, at least one of which is an initial codebook defined by a basic pattern, and in that the vectors of the global codebook are formed by adding the common position pulses of the vectors of the base codebooks.
Code-excited linear prediction (CELP) is a speech coding algorithm which provides significantly better quality than existing low bit-rate algorithms. The truncation scheme eliminates unnecessary signal transitions which take place in the most signiﬁcant bits due to sign extension, thereby produce more accurate waveforms which results in high resolution audio signals.
2. Packet based Echo cancellation and suppression (patent number 280079)6 – IPC code: G10L21/02
This patent is a process patent of echo cancellation and suppression in the audio inputs.
1. A method for suppressing echo, the method comprising:
selecting from a plurality of reference voice packets, a reference voice packet based on at least one encoded voice parameter associated with each of the plurality of reference voice packets and a targeted voice packet; and suppressing echo in the targeted voice packet based on the selected reference voice packet.
The above claim aims to protect the process of suppressing or cancelling the echo from the audio input. This echo is a reflection of sound that reaches the listener with a delay after the direct sounds. By removing or suppressing the echo data units it results in clear output audio signals. One of the methods to suppress the echo is to use adaptive filters but this use of filters results in delay of output signals, this invention aims to decrease such delay through packet-based data transmission.
Apart from increase in patent filing in Indian applicants, it should be noted that there are many investments made in India by foreign players in the electronics industry which helped in increase in the number of patent application filings.7
|The top applicants of electronic patents are:
||Top 8 startups in the electronics industry in India:
The NPE 2019 provides attractive incentives and tax benefits to the startups which in turn aids them in R&D and from past decade there is a rapid growth in filing the patent applications by startups.8
From the recent amendments in Patent rules 2003 the startups are given an opportunity for expedited examination under rule 24C patent rules 2003.9
Another objective of NPE 2019 is to promote research in electronics and IT domain. The government will provide funding to PhD students from Universities across the country for research in industry specific needs in electronics domain. This policy aims to fulfil the task of 3000 PhD students graduating from this program in the area of electronics & IT/ITES.10
In essence, the National Electronics Policy has a great impact on the growth of IPR in Electronics industry which prioritized to encourage the existing players and new Startups in this market. With the revised version of policy, we can expect growth in ESDM market share and many innovations to be generated to deal with real life problems.
- Annual report 2016-2017
- https://ipindiaservices.gov.in/publicsearch/ – search for Patent Number 280081
- https://ipindiaservices.gov.in/PublicSearch – search for Patent Number 280079