Monday, April 28, 2008

XLRI to help Patent Grass-Root Innovations

From The Telegraph

Jamshedpur, April 27: An espresso coffee machine which functions without electricity, a special bamboo which lasts longer and is more durable or medicine for asthma made out of traditional herbs may soon be a reality.

Innovations like these and many more would soon be patented in the innovators’ name if XLRI has its way.

Taking a step ahead in its endeavour to bring grassroots innovation to the mainstream, XLRI has recently selected about 25-odd grassroots-level innovations across eastern India to get a patent and be marketed as business ideas.

The move, to be implemented in association with the National Innovation Foundation (NIF), comes in the wake of NIF setting up a research advisory council at the B-school recently.

Set up in association with the department of science and technology, NIF was established to provide institutional support to innovations across the rural pockets of India and grassroots-level workers in transforming their ideas into a profit venture.

“According to the agreement with NIF and XLRI, the regional research advisory council would assess the innovations made at the grassroots in Bihar, Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh. The body would later provide marketing strategies for the launch of these innovative ideas in the market,” said T. Raghuram, the assistant professor in strategic management, XLRI.

The council would comprise B-school professors, NIF members and also senior authorities from institutes like IIT (Kharagpur) and IIT (Guwahati).

“We have so far received about 25 such interesting innovations from absolutely grassroots-level workers — farmers, mechanics and electricians. Right now we are in the process of studying their technical possibilities and validation,” said Raghuram.

Once finalised, the selected innovations would be funded by NIF and also be protected under intellectual property rights.

“We are not revealing the innovations for we are in the process of patenting these innovations in the founders’ name so they can be saved from being copied,” added Raghuram.

NIF would also provide capital for establishing the entity. The final decision in this regard would be taken as soon as the students working on the project return to the campus after their summer internship programmes.

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