Abhiraj

In this blog post, Abhiraj Thakur, a 1st year student of NALSAR University of Law, writes about the latest IPR Policy of India.

In this era of technological advancement, the want of new innovations and discoveries is an inevitable one. Humans are marked by their ability to create new things, as we say the necessity is the mother of inventions. Any invention takes a lot for it: knowledge, skill, resources, efficiency, application along with semblance of time. The output is one’s intellectual property. In modern era a lot of money goes into doing research and innovate something, this is where intellectual property rights become important. Apart from granting rights of exclusive usage of the invention to the owner and legal recognition to the invention, IP rights provide an incentive for research thus contributing to social and economic development of a nation. For this, a policy is indeed needed.

What is an IPR Policy?

An IPR Policy is basically a vision document that aims to create and explore relationships between different forms of intellectual property (IP), concerned statutes and agencies in order to build a comprehensive framework for protection of Intellectual property rights so as to provide a conducive environment for research and innovation. Many nations of the world today, along with India have an IPR policy. The Department of Industry Policy and Promotion(DIPP) under the aegis of Ministry of Commerce and Industry is the body responsible for formation of IPR policy, DIPP released the IPR policy for the current year on 12th May 2016.

The National IPR policy of India 2016 is divided into 7 objectives, the salient features of each are enumerated here.

OBJECTIVE 1: IPR Awareness: Outreach and Promotion To create public awareness about the economic, social and cultural benefits of IPRs among all sections of society.[1]

It is true that a ‘right’ cannot achieve its substantial goals unless the one to whom it is provided knows when to avail it. The observation of the think tank behind the policy was that a large number of IP holders in the country are not aware of the benefits of it. At most times they are discouraged to avail them due to the complexities of the procedures involved. This is the problem that the first objective of the policy targets at. Some of the major steps taken to achieve the aim are :

  • The Public outreach method: A national slogan “Creative India; Innovative India” has been adopted and an associated campaign on electronic, print and social media has to be launched so as the information of IPR reaches maximum people.
  • Inclusion in Education: Educational institutions at all levels have been directed to emphasize the importance of IP rights, Online and distance learning programs for all categories of users will be created under this policy.

OBJECTIVE 2: Generation of IPRs to stimulate the generation of IPRs[2]

There are various methods to adjudge the status of IPRs in a country, one among them is the number of IP filings and grants over a fixed period of time. It has been observed that over recent years India has emerged one of the top nations of the world in terms of filing for generations of IPRs. The constant rise in generation of IPRs is an important indicator of optimism for a nation in generation of new technologies. Some Major steps to achieve the aim are :

  • Analysing contribution of research in economy : Undertaking of a nation-wide study to explore and assess the contribution of IP content in different industries on the economy, employment, exports and technology
  • Enhancing current performance : Focusing on improving IPR output of National Research Laboratories, Universities, Technology Institutions and other researchers by encouraging and facilitating the acquisition of Intellectual property rights by them.

OBJECTIVE 3: Legal and Legislative Framework to have strong and effective IPR laws, which balance the interests of rights owners with larger public interest.[3]

The state of India acknowledges the importance of a comprehensive and balanced legal framework for continuous flow of innovation. Law is dynamic and demands necessary changes which change in time and circumstances. The current IP laws of India are framed on the basis of the TRIPS Agreement. Also India being signatory to various international treaties in IP rights needs to constantly examine the reach of its current laws in protection of IP rights of its citizens.

  • Examine the present: A Revision of existing IP laws,  and wherever necessary, updating and  improvement of them to remove anomalies and inconsistencies will be done, in consultation with stakeholders;
  • Act with regards to future: The state will engage constructively in the negotiation of international treaties and agreements in consultation with stakeholders; also examining accession to some multilateral treaties which are in India’s interest; and become signatory to those treaties  which India has de facto implemented to enable  it to participate in their decision making process.

OBJECTIVE 4: Administration and Management  To modernize and strengthen service-oriented IPR administration[4]

A law shall never deliver until it is implemented in an efficient manner. The offices that administer a law are the cornerstone of it. The current offices that administer the IP laws in India are efficient but still there are loopholes to be plucked and areas where there is scope of improvement. With expanding work load and technological complexity, it becomes necessary to make IPR regime hassle free. This is where administration assumes importance. Some major steps taken are :

  • Central Government taking initiative: The administration of the Copyright Act 1957 along with the office of the Registrar of Copyrights, which comes under the Department of Higher Education (DHE), will be transferred to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion(DIPP)
  • Review of Current Apparatus: A nation-wide review of the current organizational and cadre structure, processes of recruitment and training of the officers will be undertaken.
  • Accommodating Technology: Further modernization of the physical and ICT infrastructure will be undertaken. This will be done taking into account  the expanding needs of the IPOs and to accelerate e-filings, e-processing and other e-services.

OBJECTIVE 5: Commercialization of IPR – Get value for IPRs through commercialization[5]

An invention yields result both for the inventor and larger society only when it is commercialised. Commercialisation of a product also promotes entrepreneurship. Taking lessons from USA and Europe, India has also adopted the path of commercialisation of IP to tap the vast market available due to globalisation. Some remarkable steps in this regard are:

  • Let the Tech Flow: Promotion of licensing and technology transfer for IPRs along with devising of suitable contractual and licensing guidelines to enable commercialization of IPRs will be done by 2017. In addition to this, patent pooling and cross-licensing to create IPR based products and services will be encouraged.
  • Build entrepreneurs: Support will be provided for MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises), Individual Inventors and Innovators from the  informal  sectors to commercialize their IPRs. In this regard facilitation centres will be set up across the nation.

OBJECTIVE 6: Enforcement and Adjudication To strengthen the enforcement and adjudicatory mechanisms for combating IPR infringements[6]

A right is always followed by a remedy. For providing these remedies there needs to be effective mechanisms in place. Fast and efficient disposal of IP infringement issues is want of the hour. Various new mechanisms are being adopted throughout the world in this area. The steps incorporated in India under the new policy are:

  • Inter-agency Cooperation: Enhancing the coordination between the various agencies and providing direction and guidance on strengthening enforcement measures will be done. Coordinating with and sharing of intelligence and best practices at the  national and international level will be encouraged also studying the extent of IP violations in  various sectors and examination of the implications of jurisdictional difficulties among enforcement authorities will be done so as to remove the impediments.
  • State-centre cooperation: The centre will work closely with the state governments for establishment of IP cells for effective curbing of IP offences.
  • Justice through alternative means: Facilitation of effective adjudication of IP  disputes  through  different   measures will be undertaken. The most important among them is First, Adjudication of IP disputes through Commercial Courts which will be set up at appropriate levels. Second, Promoting ADRs in the resolution of IP cases by strengthening mediation and conciliation centres, and developing ADR capabilities and skills in the field of IP will be done.

OBJECTIVE 7: Human Capital Development To strengthen and expand human resources, institutions and capacities for teaching, training, research and skill building in IPRs[7]

With an overwhelming number of young population, India provides vast areas of development of human capital in the arena of IP. The framework presented in the above 6 objectives are made keeping an eye on the long-term goal of human capital development in IP. The steps in this regard will be:

  • Building Institutions: RGNIIPM (Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Intellectual Property Management), Nagpur will be adequately reformed and provided with resources to conduct training for IPR administrators and managers in industry and business, academicians, R&D institutions; IP professionals; inventors and civil society; develop links with other similar entities at the international level; provide legal training for examiners
  • International Help: Strengthening of IP Teaching, Research and Training will be undertaken in collaboration with WIPO, WTO, other International Organizations and reputed Foreign Universities specializing in IP.
  • Empowerment of Women: Both centre and state will encourage and support capacity building among Women Creators, Innovators, Entrepreneurs, Practitioners, Teachers and Trainers, it is aimed for a long term social impact.

Thus we see, through such a vision document, India has made its plan clear to tap the vast opportunities in the field of Intellectual property. The importance of IP is today known to the world, with regard to various international treaties and ever changing socio-economic scenario of the world, how far this document will deliver on its promises is a thing to be looked for.

The IPR Policy 2016 can be downloaded here.

[1] IPR Policy 2016

[2] ibid

[3] ibid

[4] ibid

[5] ibid

[6]ibid

[7] ibid

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