India has granted over 77 per cent of total 4,614 patents in the pharmaceuticals sector to foreign companies in the last ten years.

Between January 2005 and December 10, 2014, the country granted 3,575 patents to foreign companies against only 1,039 patents to domestic firms in the pharmaceuticals sector.

The large portion of patents going to foreign companies clearly indicates that the Indian patent regime is non-discriminatory and strong, sources said.

Similarly in 18 other sectors, including agriculture engineering, bio-chemistry, bio-technology, chemical and mechanical engineering, India has accorded over 70 per cent of legal protection to foreign companies.

In fact, in sectors such as communication technology, computer science and electronics, the country granted over 90 per cent of patents to global firms during that period.

To global firms, India has granted 10,398 patents in mechanical engineering sector, 9,506 in chemicals, 4,937 in electronics, 2,896 in communications technology, 2,236 in bio-technology and 1,709 in computer sciences.

On the other hand, domestic firms have got 339 patents in biotechnology, 3,354 in chemicals, 243 in communication technology, 150 in computer science, 384 in electronics and 2,168 in mechanical engineering.

The data was collated by the Commerce and Industry Ministry.

In terms of revocation of patents in the pharmaceutical sector, India revoked only 17 patents of foreign firms.

In recent times, multi-national companies in sectors including pharmaceutical have alleged that Indian intellectual property rights (IPR) laws are weak.

However, India has always maintained its stand that its IPR laws are in compliance with international obligations.

“These numbers clearly refutes allegations of multi-national firms. After 2005, India has granted maximum number of patents to foreign firms,” National Intellectual Property Organisation (NIPO) President T C James said.

In January 2005, India has extended the product patent regime to pharmaceutical sector as well, he said.