Innovation Patent

Tata’s Nano: Patents, Innovation and a Good Laugh!

Note: Those of our readers reading this post as an email in their inbox, I strongly recommend logging onto SpicyIP for the full effect!

In November last year, the Economic Times reported that Tata was seeking a patent on its 1 lakh car christened “Nano”. The report stated: “Auto heavyweight Tata Motors is understood to have sought a global patent for the design and technology involved in the much awaited Rs one-lakh car, people close to the development said. Tata, which has used a number of new concepts and ideas in developing this vehicle, wants to ensure that it is fully protected against any imitation in the ultra-competitive global auto industry.” Does anyone know the status of these patent applications – applied for? Published? Granted?

Initially expected to be launched in the middle of the year, the Nano (variously referred to as the “Janata car”, i.e. the “People’s car” and the “Lakhtakia car” because of its Rs.1-lakh price tag) is in the market already; surrounded by fan fare, controversy and a whole lot of media attention. To see what people are saying about the car, see this article in the Mint. Some claim that the new car will force others in the industry to innovate (See the Sify news item here), and others are convinced that it would unleash havoc and contribute only mayhem to the already over clogged Indian roads. One wonders that no move was made by Tata to encourage infrastructural development to ensure that its car serves its real purpose (speedy and comfortable travel). According to a recent article in the Hindu Businessline, “The cheapest car in the world, … could translate into a 65 per cent increase in the number of families that can afford a car.”

It seems therefore that notwithstanding the affordability, it is likely that the car will truly benefit consumers in developed countries that have the infrastructure not only to hold, but also permit the movement of the large number of automobiles that are expected to hit the roads within a few months of Nano’s launch.

On a lighter note, creativity is at its peak thanks to the Nano. A forwarded email I received recently contained a number of really funny cartoons – I’m reproducing them here. If anyone knows the artist, please let us know. For those of our readers who don’t read Hindi, here’s the translation of the text in the cartoons:

Image 1: Man with money in his hand in an office taking bookings for purchasing the Nano says “Give me two”

Image 3: “Is there an exchange offer?”

Image 4: Nano breezing through the traffic from under a truck: “Traffic Jam? No Problem!”

Image 5: A beggar in a Nano saying: “In the name of the Lord, please give me [money]”


  1. Avatarकीर्तिश भट्ट

    Hi Mrinalini
    I am Kirtish Bhatt, the cartoonist of these nano cartoons.Un fortunatly only two out of ten cartoons have my signature.Thats why every one asking for the name of cartoonist.
    Thanx for promoting cartoons

    plz do visit my blog
    for more cartoons and reveiwes

    see u

  2. AvatarMrinalini Kochupillai

    Thanks Ravi for answering Anuradha’s question and also for the link. There are no “global patents” but one can file a PCT application in order to ensure that novelty is not lost while seeking patents in more than one country.

    Kirtish – the cartoons are awesome! I’ll certainly keep visiting your blog for a regular dose of laughter! There’s something wrong with the blog at present and we cant see the cartoons – I will repost to remedy this…


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