It appears that my 5 months old campaign to force CSIR to disclose information on the royalties earned from licencing of its patents is simply not going to bear any fruit. I had initially filed an application in March this year to investigate the sums that CSIR is spending on patenting and the amount that it is earning through licensing of these patents. At that time, although CSIR disclosed that it had spent close to Rs. 74,20,00,000 on securing its patents; it declined to disclose, on absolutely nonsensical grounds, the royalties it earned through licencing of these patents.
I had appealed that decision to the First Appellate Authority within CSIR – an IAS officer who was the Joint Secretary at CSIR. In his reply dated 2nd May, 2012 the IAS officer had ordered CSIR to provide me with the information I had requested, within 30 days of his orders. There used to be a time in India when the word of an IAS officer was worth something, especially in an organization as bureaucratic as CSIR. Clearly that is no longer the case. It has been almost 3 months since that order and I’m yet to get a single shred of information despite two reminders to the IAS officer in question.
I’m guessing that the only reason that CSIR is unwilling to share this information is because it simply does not earn a single rupee from licensing of its patents. There is no other reason for CSIR to deliberately hide the royalties earned from its licensing of patents.
CSIR’s initial explanation while denying my first request, i.e. each individual lab licensed its own patents and that the HQ had no idea about the licencing activities is pure bunkum for the simple reason that the Intellectual Property Management Division (IPMD) of CSIR is the one point contact with the Patent Office on all matters regarding Indian patents and all licencing agreements have to be registered with the patent office through the IPMD. There is no question of CSIR not having all of this information at one location.
The true problem as I had highlighted in my earlier post is the lack of political will at CSIR to function as a transparent body. I’ve been told that this is partly due to rampant corruption and unaccountability through all ranks at CSIR. I was never provided any proof to substantiate the same and hence would not like to believe such rumours. In the meantime I can gather some solace that my posts on this topic show on the first page of the ‘Google’ search engine when a user keys in the words ‘CSIR+Patent+royalties’. As trivial as that may sound, one of the most important functions of this blog is its archival capacity and its ability to provide posterity with an accurate context to specific events. Hopefully, future researchers and journalists will be aided by these posts while researching on CSIR’s prowess in commercializing its inventions.