India: India, IPR And Its Influence

In today's intellectual era, India has shown a considerable growth in its research and development. The presence of well established state of the art labs of Indian as well as multinational companies in the country has clearly proved the Indian IP status in the world. The rise in Indian economy is a clear impact of Intellectual Property (IP) influence in the country. By setting up new technology, incubation centers in various parts of the country and providing financial aids to the technologist, the Research & Development (R&D)status of the country has been boosted up.

India being a developing nation, has taken giant leaps in competing towards Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement and in compliance of US and European Intellectual Property Right (IPR) structure. The 21st century can be referred to as the century of technology, knowledge and in fact the regime of intellect. The country's ability to translate knowledge into innovation to gain wealth will determine its future. Thus, the innovation is supposed to be the key to create knowledge into wealth. Therefore, issues of generation, evaluation, protection and exploitation of IP would become critically important all over the world1. Through this article, emphasis has been given on the IPRs impact in creating a strong backbone of the country.

Nature of IPR

IPRs are the territorial rights which have a fixed term and can be renewed after a stipulated time as specified in the law by way of making payment toward official fees. Exceptionally, trade secrets have an infinite life but they don't have to be renewed. Apart from this, trade secrets have another nature of being assigned, gifted, sold and licensed like any other tangible property. Unlike other moveable and immoveable properties, these rights can be separately held in many countries at the same time. IPR can be held only by legal entities i.e., who have the right to sell and purchase property. In the other way, any non autonomous institution doesn't have rights to own intellectual property. These rights are protected by their respective sections and rules2.

IPR Scenario: From Indian Perspective

Earlier when IPR was in its preliminary stage, lot of problems arose relating to its implementation, policies, Act/ Rules, financial and governmental support. Earlier, companies and inventors were also not aware of IPR, therefore risk of infringement was at an alarming level without a healthy system, companies were not interested to go for R&D process in India. This resulted in the death of inventions, high risk of infringement, economic loss and decline of an intellectual era in the country.

Keeping in view all the above problems, India has taken strong steps in strengthening IPR in the country. For example, the first Indian Patent Law came in 1856. Further, the same was modified from time to time by Indian patent system.

New patent law was made after independence in the form of the Indian Patent Act 1970. Later, it was amended in compliance with the TRIPS provision. Recently, in2005, amendments were made in IPR. While the process of bringing out amendments was going on, India became a member of the Paris Convention, Patent Cooperation Treaty, Budapest Treaty and finally signed the TRIPS agreement to comply with the International and Indian standards. Recently, India signed the "Madrid Protocol" which further enhances the applicability of Trademarks in 89 countries. Further, interest of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Indian industries, technologist, scientist and inventors are gaining in this field. More number of research oriented persons are filing their inventions on a large scale. More number of foreign companies are now establishing their in-house R&D centres in India, which is a clear sign of IPR influence in the country.

Apart, from this, the country's first Compulsory License (CL) against the Bayer cancer drug "NEXAVAR" highlights the Indian IPR regime on the international window. This CL gives a ray of hope to Indian Pharma INC which is not capable of producing life saving drugs and now can manufacture such drugs at a very low cost. Such nature of CL boosts up the health industry of the country. Due to this, high end drugs can be manufactured and supplied to the patients at a very nominal rate which is a sign of a disease free society. According to a recent survey, it was estimated that the number of Trademark and Patent filings have increased 20 times as that of previous years.

Keeping in view the above achievements, our IPR system is still in enact stage. The continuous efforts of Indian Government gives pace to the intellectual regime but more efforts are to be taken in overcoming challenges which restrict IPR to reach the international standards.

Challenges in IPR : From Indian Perspective

Today, IPR plays an important role in every sector and has become an important aspect of research for Pharma and research oriented industries. The continuous efforts of the government in policy establishment, IT protection, infrastructure, IPR search portals and manpower made this Industry a step ahead. In consideration of all the achievements, our industry is still facing troublesome challenges not only at domestic level but also at international level. Firstly, in India IPR lacks its roots in remote areas, such areas are considered to be the hot bed of inventions. Many people are still unaware about IPR and their advantages in taking rights for their intellectual property. In such cases, the government should promote the awareness of IPR in such remote areas. Large number of awareness camps and educational hubs have to be organized for the skilled impart of knowledge among the inventors. Secondly, a legal issue plays an important role in IPR situation in the country. Today various trademark and patent infringement matters are gaining their significance in the legal story of the country. In such increase of IPR matter, a skilled team of law persons (Judges, advocates) and IPR professionals are required. Apart from the above issues, TRIPS flexibility is yet another object to be discussed here.

Earlier, when Indian Patent system was not in compliance with TRIPS, there was a risk of a healthy Patent protection provision in India. But today the condition has totally changed. India is now a member of TRIPS agreement and our patent system is fully compliant with the TRIPS. Even though Indian Patent Act contains all the TRIPS flexibilities, the relevant provisions require fine tuning, especially of those related to the patent protection, compulsory license and government use.

Conclusion

Past decade attempts concluding crucial amendments to the Patent Act of 1970 and have built up a firm base for a fully functional patent system. IPR influence in the current regime is much affected by its awareness and intellect nature. In the current scenario, various important steps have been taken in reaching IPR to a new height and compliance with USPTO, EPO and other countries IPR regime and it was believed that more steps have to be taken. Further, people are still unaware about IPR and their advantages in taking rights for their intellectual property. In such cases, the government should promote the awareness of IPR in remote areas.

Footnotes

1http://www.ccs.in/ccsindia/policy/rule/articles/IPR_India.PDF

2 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3312695

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