India: Boost For India's Economic Growth And Socio-Cultural Development: Government Approves National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy

Last Updated: 10 August 2016
Article by Chadha & Chadha IP

RIGHTS (IPR) POLICY

In November 2014, the government set up an IPR think-tank to draft the IPR policy, pursuant to which on May 12, 2016, the government approved the much-awaited National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy(hereinafter referred to as "the Policy"). The Policy aims at promoting the IP regime and to encourage creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship in India. Its rationale lies in the need to create awareness about the importance of IPRs as a marketable financial asset and economic tool.

The vision of this policy is to nurture the IP culture, guiding and enabling all creators and inventors to realize their potential for generating, protecting and utilizing IPRs which would contribute to wealth creation, employment opportunities and business development. It has been introduced with an intension of creating awareness about the importance of IPRs as a marketable financial asset and economic tool. It is directed towards encouraging the potential investors and strategic partners to invest in India. 

The Policy has been structured around seven broad objectives which have been stated below (several highlights of the objectives being):

1) IPR AWARENESS:

  • Creating public awareness about the economic, social and cultural benefits of IPRs among all sections of society.
  • Reaching out to the less-visible IP generators and holders, especially in rural and remote areas.
  • Encouraging multi-national corporations and other large corporate entities to develop IP program for their employees and adapting and propagating them to the public.

2) GENERATION OF IPRS:

A. INCENTIVES AND FUNDING FOR PROMOTING IPR:

  • Providing financial support for a limited period on sale and export of products based on IPRs generated from public funded research.
  • Creating and implementing an effective and simple loan guarantee scheme in order to encourage start-ups and cover the risk of genuine failures in commercialization based on IPRs as mortgage-able assets.
  • Promoting R&D through tax benefits available under various laws, through simplification of procedures for availing direct and indirect tax benefits.
  • Encouraging researchers in public funded academic and R&D institutions by having uniform guidelines for division of royalties between the organizations and individual researchers and innovators.
  • Promoting 'infusion of funds to public R&D units' as a part of Corporate Social Responsibility to foster a culture of open innovation.

B. PROMOTING AND UTILIZING TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE

  • The ambit of Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) to be expanded to include other fields besides Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani and Siddha.
  • Public research institutions would be allowed access to TKDL for further R&D.
  • Private sector may also be provided with the opportunity of using TKDL for further R&D, provided necessary safeguards are in place to prevent misappropriation.

C. INCREASING AWARENESS

  • Introducing IPRs as a part of academic curriculum in educational institutions, especially universities, law and technical institutions.
  • Increasing awareness of international mechanisms and treaties (e.g. PCT, Madrid, Hague) to encourage creation and protection of IPRs by Indian individuals and entities in global markets.
  • Focus towards increasing the number of domestic filings of patent applications.

3) LEGAL AND LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK:

A.  ENHANCE TRANSPARENCY AND EFFICIENCY

  • Reviewing and updating the IP related rules, guidelines, procedures and practices for clarity, simplification, streamlining, transparency and time bound processes in administration and enforcement of IP rights.
  • Providing a suitable legal framework to address the issues: technology transfer, know-how and licensing relating to SEPs on fair and reasonable terms.

4) ADMINISTRATION AND MANAGEMENT:

A. MODERNIZE AND STRENGTHEN SERVICE-ORIENTED IPR ADMINISTRATION

  • Efforts to include TKDL as a part of PCT minimum documentation.
  • Establishing a close cooperation between IPOs and creating a common web portal for simplifying access to statutes, regulations, guidelines and for facilitating better coordination.
  • Expediting the examination of patent applications to promote manufacturing in India.
  • Enhancing international and bilateral cooperation and coordinate with Indian Missions abroad to follow IP developments and advice on IP related matters.

B. GUIDELINES FOR ADVANCEMENT TO THE OFFICE OF THE CONTROLLER GENERAL OF PATENTS DESIGNS AND TRADEMARKS

  • Fixing and facilitating strict adherence to timelines for grant of registrations and disposal of opposition matters.
  • Ensuring that public records in the IP office are easily available and accessible both online and offline.
  • Implementing incentives for MSMEs and grass root innovators to encourage filing by the said sector.

C. GUIDELINES TO THE OFFICE OF REGISTRAR OF COPYRIGHTS

  • Digitizing copyright records and introducing e-filing and on-line search facilities.
  • Providing user-friendly services in the form of helpdesks, awareness and training materials.

5) COMMERCIALIZATION OF IPR:

A.  PROMOTING LISENCING

  • Promotion of licensing and technology transfers for IPRs.
  • Devising suitable contractual and licensing guidelines to enable commercialization of IPRs.
  • Promoting patent pooling and cross-licensing to create IPR based products and services.
  • Examining the availability of Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.

B.    ENSURE AFFORDABLE MEDICINES AND HEALTHCARE SOLUTIONS BY:

  • Encouraging cross-sector partnerships between public sector, private sector, universities and NGOs.
  • Promoting novel licensing models.
  • Developing novel technology platforms.
  • Incentivizing manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredients in India and revitalizing public sector undertakings in healthcare sector.

6) ENFORCEMENT AND ADJUDICATION

STRENGTHENING ENFORCEMENT MEASURES

  • Enhancing assistance to smaller firms in protecting their IP Rights internationally, such as DeitY's (Department of Electronics and Information Technology) support to International Patent Protection in Electronics and IT (SIP-EIT).
  • Encouraging application of technology based solutions in the enforcement of IP rights.
  • Taking up the issue of Indian works and products being pirated and counterfeited abroad with countries concerned.

FACILITATE EFFECTIVE ADJUDICATION OF IP DISPUTES

  • Establishing specialized Commercial Courts to adjudicate and resolve IPR disputes.
  • Promoting Alternative Dispute Resolutions in the resolution of IP cases.

7) HUMAN CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT

  • Developing and increasing pool of IPR professionals and experts in spheres such as policy and law, strategy development, administration and enforcement.
  • Strengthening IP Teaching, Research and Training in collaboration with WIPO, WTO, other International Organizations and reputed Foreign Universities.
  • Making IPR an integral part of the curriculum in all legal, technical, medical and management educational Institutions.

Analysis

Under the aegis of the National IPR policy, the government is trying to foster an atmosphere where everything the industry creates is registered.  This move shall facilitate in curbing counterfeits. Making Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion the single nodal agency on IPRs will reduce inter-departmental confusions and leverage linkages. Encouraging innovation through protection and enforcement of IPR Rights, shall help achieve the necessary balance in the IP regime in attaining the much needed economic growth and advancements.

All in all, this is an all-encompassing IPR policy which focuses at promoting a holistic and conducive ecosystem to catalyse the full potential of intellectual property for India's growth and socio-cultural development, while protecting public interest. The incentives and proposals specified by the government in the National IPR Policy will certainly boost the Research & Development in India. We expect multifarious increase in startups consequent to which, filing of applications is expected to increase profusely as well. 

As and when the National IPR Policy comes into full effect, we believe that it has the potential to further extend IP protection to India, as India is bound to become a major player for commercialization and enforcement of IPRs both from manufacturing point of view and also from the standpoint of the large consumer base that it provides.

The complete Policy can be viewed in full here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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