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Patents and Mobile Devices in India: An Empirical Survey

Posted by on Thursday, February 9, 2017 in Articles, Blog, Left column, Vol. 50 No. 1, Volume 50, Volumes.

Though India has the second-largest wireless subscriber base in the world, with more than 150 domestic mobile device vendors, it has, until recently, remained relatively unaffected by the global smartphone wars. Over the past few years, however, a growing number of patent enforcement actions have been brought by multinational firms against domestic Indian producers. These actions, which have largely resulted in judgments favoring foreign patent holders, have given rise to a variety of proposals for addressing this situation.
In order to assess the potential impact of patents on the mobile device market in India, and to assist policy makers in formulating and implementing regulations affecting this market, we have conducted the first comprehensive academic study of the patent landscape of the mobile device sector in India. The results of this study illuminate a number of important features of the Indian mobile device market, including the overwhelming prevalence of foreign patent holders, the rate at which foreign and domestic firms are obtaining patents, and how these patent holdings are likely to shape industrial dynamics in the Indian market for mobile devices, as well as the availability of low-cost mobile devices that can significantly enhance public health, agriculture, safety, and economic development throughout India.

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