The Scenario in the IPR sector has undergone vibrant change in the recent past. This change has not been restricted to the pharmaceutical sector alone, but has extended itself to other systems of Intellectual Property. New players on the block include Geographical Indications and Traditional Knowledge. As the Intellectual Property globus expands, it brings in several aspects calling attention including proprietary and pecuniary interests.
The enhanced IP system prevalent in India finds its roots in some of the latest amendments passed by the legislature. The amendment to the Patents Act, 1970 introduced a product patents regime, covering drugs, foods and chemicals, in compliance with the Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Furthermore, the Act accommodates a scheme to provide for Exclusive Marketing Rights (EMR), enables compulsory licensing, apart from a change in the approach to pre-grant and post-grant opposition. The addition of the Patents Rules, 2006 on 5th May 2006, represents another step forward in India's endeavor to develop a vibrant and user-friendly Intellectual Property Regime facilitating and encouraging innovation and creativity.
In recent times, the judiciary too has actively contributed to the protection of Intellectual Property. Aspects such as Geographical Indications, which are of grave importance, are now under the spotlight. With traditional and regional specialties gaining international popularity, items such as the Pochampally and Ikat brands of weave, Nilgiri tea and several others have sought protection under the genre of Geographical Indications. The textiles and handicrafts industry seem to be most pro-active in this area, enabling protection of traditions and rewarding products, while they are allowed to evolve over time.
Not to be left far behind, is the plethora of ‘Traditional knowledge’ prevailing in the country. Patent applications often face rejection on the grounds of prior existing knowledge. The only source of passage to this until now was handing down from generation to generation, more often than not in local languages and colloquial dialects. Patent examiners lack vibrant linguistic access, and hence face difficulties to protect such indigenous knowledge. This threat is greater in the Indian scenario.
Post the Turmeric controversy; a serious attempt has been made to prevent expensive litigations. The creation of the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) is a step in this direction. This digital library shall cater to traditional knowledge in various known systems of medicines, food practices, biodiversity and folklore. The Digital Library shall also include architecture and food in its catena.
Developed by the National Institute of Science Communications and Information Resources (NISCAIR), this library shall be accessible to Patent Examiners across the globe in five international languages, including English, German, French, Spanish and Japanese.
The pact allowing patent offices abroad also provides to prevent misuse of both the Digital Library as well as the information thereon. Patent offices shall be allowed to use the TKDL only to facilitate patent search and examination, disallowing patent examiners from revealing any portion of the data to a third party, except for the purpose of patent search and examination. This mechanism is expected to benefit India immensely making it impossible for scientists to obtain patents on products that may find their roots in traditional knowledge.
India, in an attempt to strengthen its IP regime has signed a pact with the UK to create and implement an IPR programme. This pact includes the introduction of a new India-UK Science and Technology Innovation Council to promote collaboration in innovation. The focus here seems to be on strategic areas including communication technologies, biotechnology, stem-cell research and nanotechnology.
Another recent trend that seems to have taken-off in the global IP scenario, is the outsourcing of IP services to India. While the cost factor seems to weigh heavily in favour of India, the deal seems equally profitable in the Indian context with an estimated $12 billion by 2016. In the event of highly sensitive high security information, non-disclosure agreements seem to be an answer.
The Indian IP sector in the present state of affairs seems to be paving its way towards a bright future. The outcome seems to be far-fetched reaching beyond monetary and proprietary prosperity.
On 31 December 2015 the President gave his assent to certain amendments to the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965. The amendments have increased the wage threshold for determining applicability of the Act from INR 10,000 to INR 21,000 per month.
The Payment of Bonus Act, 1965 provides for the payment of statutory bonus to eligible employees. The bonus payable is to be determined on the basis of profits or on the basis of production or productivity of the establishment.
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