The Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE) is preparing to establish a patent information centre for small industries as part of plans to help them improve the marketability of their products and boost brand value.

The centre for micro, small and medium enterprises will guide industrial units in protecting their intellectual properties and facilitate filing of applications for patents and copyrights and registration of designs, trademarks and geographical indications.

The project, funded by the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), will identify MSME clusters and assess their intellectual property (IP) needs.

KSCSTE executive vice president E.P. Yesodharan said the project was designed to help the largely unorganised small industries sector overcome the marketing problems.

He said it would be discussed with officials of the Industries Department and District Industrial Centres next month. The MSME clusters would be identified at the meeting and a steering committee constituted for the supervision of the IP facilitation centre. A sum of Rs. 42 lakh was earmarked for the project.

The centre would conduct training programmes on the significance of protecting IP and help the clusters obtain rights on their products. It would also provide legal, technical, legal and financial assistance to small industries.

In the initial phase of the project, the KSCSTE would identify five different industrial clusters from various sectors and organise sensitisation programmes for the groups to create better awareness about IPR. Government departments, universities and industries would be roped in for the sensitisation programme.

The centre would collaborate with the Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) under the Department of Science and Technology to process the applications filed by the clusters for patents, designs, trademarks and geographical indications.

Principal Scientific Officer of KSCSTE Ajith Prabhu said the proposed IPR centre would offer support to the industrial sector in the crucial area of IPR and improve the marketability of their products.

“Many of the products manufactured in Kerala, such as chips and toys to the Beypore dhow and Aranmula mirror, lack brand value. Helping the manufacturers obtain rights for their products will enable the small industries sector to overcome this problem”.

The council already has a Patent Information Centre (PIC) functioning under it. It provides technical, legal and financial support for students, research scholars, scientist, technocrats, professionals, industrialists and grass root innovators in searching patent databases and filing patents.