Dr. V R Kanetkar Inventor and Great Human Being – We will Miss you Sir

Dr. Kanetkar is recognised as a pioneering figure by many for being one of the most authoritative voices in the domains of power quality and power electronics in India. His greatest strength was his single-minded focus on solving the customers’ power quality and power systems problems while keeping their priorities at the forefront, irrespective of the pressures that large corporates put on profitability, at any cost.

He completed his PhD from IIT Kanpur in the field of power electronics. Prior to that, he did his BE (Electrical) from Walchand College of Engineering, Sangli, in 1976, preceded by MTech (Drives and Machines) from IIT Bombay. All his innovations and product designs stemmed from this single-minded focus to keep the customers’ interest at the centre and to develop the most cost-effective solutions.

Dr. Kanetkar had expressed his dissatisfaction to me multiple times about how much time the Patents office requires to examine a patents/invention. I am an IEEE judge. He used to prod me that I must take action to get things done faster. He insisted that I should teach them how to do the examination faster. He had filed a patent application on March 28, 2013. He was exasperated when the first examining report was issued.

He personally went through and analyzed the patents and regretted that all the citations in the application were irrelevant. He was additionally upset with the quality of examination and the irrelevance of citations and objects. We often met over tea and bread-butter to discuss the matter. In fact, he insisted that we often met over tea and bread-butter. He repeatedly expressed his unhappiness over the fact that inventors these days simply sit in a room and invent. This is more so a bigger problem with academicians who just sit in a room without testing themselves in the field, taking shortcuts wherever possible.

It is very unfortunate that we got the patent grant certificate for his invention in May 2020 and by this time, Dr. V.R. Kanetkar had already left for his heavenly abode, peacefully on September 30, 2019. He had a brain tumour and he got operated upon for the same. He wanted to regain his energy and get back to his favorite activity, inventing, but alas, it was not to happen. He also wanted to conduct a seminar with me.

Under the light of the circumstances, here is a small request to Mr. Prime Minister of India: The process of patenting inventions and discoveries in India is long winded and replete with delays. Sometimes, the process takes longer than the life of the inventor. What is the use of the patent when the inventor no longer survives? Kindly look into the matter and take some steps so that the hurdles can be minimised and the process can be hastened.


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