India: The Hotbed for New Innovations

Asia is one of the fastest-growing markets for new innovations. There is tremendous interest and activity in developing, fostering and monetizing new innovations, and patents in Asia. In fact, private entities and Governments are backing IP Exchanges and Federal Technology Licensing Offices across Asia: India, China, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.

As Asian technology enterprises scale-up and nurture global ambitions, particularly, entering United States, they are resorting to significant buying of US patents, with limitless budgets for the right patent assets. For instance, the last two years have seen a significant increase in patent buying by Chinese and other Asian electronics companies, as they scale up, and develop global ambitions.

In 2017, the opportunities are ripe for US patent owners to leverage and monetize their US patents in the Asian patent marketplace. Large US corporations and small enterprises are best placed to take advantage of this new playground.

In terms of technologies, there is significant interest amongst Asian patent buyers for unencumbered US patent assets in new-age technologies, including augmented reality, virtual reality, machine learning, wireless technologies, automotive and battery as well as in medical devices. Being a niche market player, we at Hammerkopf work with enterprises and scientists working in the above technology areas.

Hammerkopf has been very active in the Indian market, working with a diverse group of stakeholders in India, ranging from large companies, small and medium enterprises as well as startups/entrepreneurs.

A Thriving Market

Today’s India represents a compelling market full of potential and promise that is being shaped by a new generation of consumers. There are >440 million millennials and >390 million GenZ consumers in India, who are contributing to the rapid growth of the market, making India the hub for development and commercialization of new innovations. The urban middle class with large disposable income is contributing to the market development.

Government initiatives to improve education, boost the IT infrastructure, coupled with more global exposure has shaped this new consumer class. Low cost smartphones and the scaling up of 3G and 4G broadband communication infrastructure have led to an increase in digital consumption.

Today’s India is a good test-bed for new innovations to be introduced, scaled-up, and commercialized across other geographies.

For startups and enterprises interested in India, one fact remains that this is a tough and complex market, and it helps to have a trusted partner in this journey.

At Hammerkopf, our market-making capabilities enable global and in particular, new age enterprises to introduce their innovations to the market. The team at Hammerkopf has capabilities in market intelligence and market-making strategies, and is equipped to support enterprises with knowledge on the market, supporting their successful entry and subsequent scale-up in the market.

Industry going Global

Indian conglomerates are adapting new strategies to rise-up on the innovation ladder, including buying US patent assets off-the-shelf.

There are small and medium enterprises that have been able to leverage and monetize their US patent assets in futuristic technology areas, such as interactive media, social networking and machine learning, working with Hammerkopf.

Hammerkopf works with large conglomerates interested in new innovations and IP outside of their corporate boundaries. This translates into myriad opportunities for enterprising startups and enterprises from US and elsewhere, who are interested in leveraging the India market for their strategic growth.

While the top technology companies in India differ in their approaches to intellectual property and new innovations, there are some large conservative companies who are acquiring new patent assets to support their global forays.

It is interesting to note that small and medium companies are adopting creative initiatives to leverage their US patent assets, and are open to monetizing them through licensing or sale. The major focus for many of these companies is to boost their R&D through patent assets.

New Startups Everywhere

The Indian technology start-up market is thriving and seeing an uptake with seasoned Indian entrepreneurs, returning from overseas and setting-up shop in National Capital Region — Delhi, and other hubs spread across Kochi, Bengaluru, Pune, and Hyderabad.

Bengaluru is the Biotech Startup Hub. There are >130 biotech startups in India, of whom >65 are based in Karnataka.

Pune is known for Chemistry, and all others are platforms for mixed technologies. Beyond the established hubs, new innovation infrastructure is coming up across states in Eastern India.

Typically, these are small start-ups working on futuristic high-tech innovations with ambitions for tackling grand challenges. In some instances, some of these start-ups look at scaling-up and becoming mature on their own, with investments to support their growth. A new entrepreneurial spirit is driving these startups, and they are increasingly moving beyond tackling me-too problems, and attracted to opportunities presented by deep learning, artificial intelligence, wearables, medical devices, and analytics.

The Government is scaling-up support mechanisms for startups, ranging from fast-track mechanisms for patent filing in Indian Patent Office (IPO), and providing incentives for startups with patents. To cut the long delays at the IPO, the Government is introducing special highways for startup grants to around 2 years, from the existing 5–7 years time.

At Hammerkopf, we work with startups to support them in defining their vision and their patent strategy, and enabling them to take effective IP decisions. This translates into enabling technology startups to define their IP policies, in patent filings, in acquiring new patent assets, and to engage in new IP-based collaborations.

Investors with Deep Pockets

India is also one of the best destinations for securing new angel investments and venture capital, especially for technology startups working in futuristic tech areas. After a slowdown in 2016, investors are now vetting-up appetite to back ventures with experienced hands, going beyond India geography.

For entrepreneurs and startups working in sectors such as energy, transportation, life sciences, consumer technologies, India represents a good destination for securing new funding.

The team at Hammerkopf is facilitating capital infusion for new age startups from the US and EU, working in diverse technology areas ranging from pathbreaking PV materials, to enhanced power technologies; from long-lasting batteries, to new wearable technology applications, and augmented reality-based games. Most of the startups we work with have patent protected technologies, and are on the cusp of the technology hype curve. They are all well placed to leverage the market as it matures, based on their technology leadership. The fund challenge for such startups led them to look at angel investors from India. Working closely with Hammerkopf, such startups have shown a high propensity to secure the necessary capital to fuel their innovations.

At Hammerkopf, we are interested in listening from, and working with entrepreneurs, startups and large enterprises working in futuristic technology areas. In addition, we are also keen to connect with angel investors and venture capital firms working in similar technology areas.

Academia Prepping Up

India has been long acknowledged as a leader in basic research ranked in the top ten, and this is borne by the high volume of scientific publications and citations secured. In terms of patent filings, India ranks 12th in the world. The current Government is taking steps to improve patent quality, with stricter rules in place for patent filings.

Going beyond basic research, there is a stress on functional or translational research, where research results could be commercialized in Indian market and elsewhere. The gap between labs and market is being bridged through an excellent network of world-class incubators, including the IIT Madras Research Park, SINE-IIT Mumbai, FIIT New Delhi, IIT Kharagpur, NCL Pune, BBC, Bengaluru, IISc- Bengaluru, and C-CAMP, Bengaluru. The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has established a network of technology-based incubators across India.

In addition, the Government is fostering innovation through a series of new scientific labs at schools, and incubators across India through two flagship mission programs.

All these incubation centres are providing platforms for research institutions and in particular, students and entrepreneurs to partner with industry and get exposure in adapting to business cycles, and translating innovations from the labs to market, contributing in new jobs and greater economic development.

Indian universities are very much active on co-development and co-investment opportunities in biotech R&D. There are many active research collaborations on the rise. For industry and academia from the West, India represents an excellent opportunity to further develop their research while protecting their intellectual property.

Hammerkopf works with research institutions in India, and is in a position to facilitate technology transfer, new technology development, and co-development opportunities. We encourage academic and research institutions to connect with us to leverage and monetize their intellectual property through co-development in India. We also work with entrepreneurs and researchers interested in taking their ideas to market through collaborative research engagement mechanisms with researchers at Indian research institutions. Hammerkopf provides the oversight for the research collaboration and for moving ideas through the pipeline to market.

India is the most exciting destination for building, fostering and leveraging new innovations. And there is no better time than now to focus here.