In an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal (subscription required), Richard Wilder & Pravin Anand claim that
India is rapidly evolving into Asia’s innovation center, leaving China in the dust. Its secret weapon? Intellectual property-rights protection. In recent years, New Delhi has taken big steps to protect these rights, and the results have been dramatic.
… copyright-based industries such as the Indian IT sector have enjoyed rapid growth. The annual average rate of growth of Indian software exports from 1994 to 2002 was 48%, marking a drastic surge from the preceding five years, when the average annual growth was about 35%. If New Delhi keeps up its commitment to rights protection, the numbers will continue to grow. Within the next few years, annual revenues from Indian software exports are expected to reach $50 billion.
Furthermore, Indian entrepreneurs, business and government labs are filing for patents at rapidly increasing rates. The number of Indian patent applications filed has increased 400% over the past 15 years. Nearly 800 Indian companies submitted international patent applications to the World Intellectual Property Organization in 2004. This number may be fairly small by international standards, but is still more than double the number of Indian patents applied for in 2000.
Question: Is India’s IPR regime, on paper & on the ground, as tough as Wilder & Anand claim?