The Union Cabinet on 13 May 20161 approved the National Intellectual Property Right (IPR) policy roadmap to foster creativity and innovation, promote entrepreneurship and enhance socio development, enhance access to healthcare, food security and environmental protection. The Policy recognizes the abundance of creative and innovative energies that flow in India, and the need to tap into and channelize these energies towards a better and brighter future for all.
The National IPR Policy is a vision document that aims to create and exploit synergies between all forms of intellectual property (IP), concerned statutes and agencies. It sets in place an institutional mechanism for implementation, monitoring and review. It aims to incorporate and adapt global best practices to the Indian scenario. This policy shall weave in the strengths of the Government, research and development organizations, educational institutions, corporate entities including MSMEs, start-ups and other stakeholders in the creation of an innovation-conducive environment, which stimulates creativity and innovation across sectors, as also facilitates a stable, transparent and service-oriented IPR administration in the country.2
- The Policy lays down the following seven objectives:
- IPR Awareness, outreach and promotion;
- Stimulate generation of IPR;
- Legal legislative Framework;
- Administration and Management;
- Commercialization of IPR;
- Enforcement and Adjudication;
- Human Capital Development.
It is mentioned in the policy that these objectives are sought to be achieved with detailed action points. It is further mentioned that the respective departments shall be monitored by Department of Industrial Policy Promotion (DIPP) which shall be the nodal department to coordinate the implementation and future developments of IPR in India.
The Policy recognizes that India has a well-established TRIPS-compliant legislative, administrative and judicial framework to safeguard IPR. Further it meets international obligations while utilizing the flexibilities provided in the international regime to address its developmental concerns.3
The broad contours of the National IPR Policy are as follows4:
An India where creativity and innovation are stimulated by Intellectual Property for the benefit of all; an India where intellectual property promotes advancement in science and technology, arts and culture, traditional knowledge and biodiversity resources; an India where knowledge is the main driver of development, and knowledge owned is transformed into knowledge shared.
Stimulate a dynamic, vibrant and balanced intellectual property rights system in India to:
- foster creativity and innovation and thereby, promote entrepreneurship and enhance socioeconomic and cultural development, and
- focus on enhancing access to healthcare, food security and environmental protection, among other sectors of vital social, economic and technological importance.
IPR AWARENESS THROUGH OUTREACH AND PROMOTION
To create public awareness about the economic, social and cultural benefits of IPR among all sections of society the policy mandates a list of step which can be summarized as below:
- By launching associated campaign on electronic, print and social media and by linking the campaign with other national initiatives such as "Make in India", "Digital India", "Skill India", "Startup India", "Smart cities" and other new initiatives in future.
- Customizing programs for MSMEs, startups, R&D institutions, universities, colleges, inventors, creators, entrepreneurs; Reaching out to IP generators in rural and remote areas; case studies of successful use of IPRs, promoting high quality and cost-effective innovation, involving eminent personalities as 'ambassadors' of IP, creating materials for IP promotion in multiple languages.
- Create awareness programs providing scientists/ researchers with a deeper understanding to protect their inventions, Engaging public and private research organizations to create campaigns for IP creation, Encouraging MNCs to develop IP programs for their employees, creating materials for MSMEs to develop and protect IP.
- Create well publicized events and ongoing programs to emphasize the importance of IP.
- Create suitable course materials for educational institutions at all levels, apart from it creating online and distance learning programs for all categories of users; Including IPR at school curriculum at appropriate level
- Engage with media to sensitize them regarding IP related issues.
GENERATION OF IPR
The Policy suggests the following steps taken towards attaining this objective,
- To take steps to increase domestic filings of patent applications. To stimulate large corporations both Indian and foreign, that have R&D operations to create, protect and utilize IPR in India;
- Improve awareness of the value of copyright for creators, the importance of their economic and moral rights;
- To promote 'infusion of funds to public R&D units' as a part of corporate social responsibility to foster culture of open innovation. Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) to be allowed access for further R&D in case of public research institutions.
- Encourage the registration of Geographical Indications (GIs) through support institutions; assist GI producers to define and maintain acceptable quality standards and providing better marketability.
- Encourage creation of design related IP rights by identifying, nurturing and promoting the aspects of innovation protectable under the design law and educating designers to utilize and benefit from their designs.
LEGAL AND LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK
The policy describes the difficulty to predict the reach of existing laws in a changing and dynamic knowledge fields, therefore it becomes necessary to carry out legislative changes as may be required from time to time. The steps suggested by the policy on attaining this objective are as follows:
- Revision of existing IP laws wherever necessary if any in consultation with stakeholders; engage constructively in the negotiation of international treaties and agreements in consultation with stakeholders; Engage worldwide to protect traditional knowledge, genetic resources and traditional cultural expressions.
- Review and update IP related rules, guidelines, procedures and practices for clarity, simplification, streamlining, transparency and time bound processes in administration and enforcement of IP rights;
- To identify important areas of study such as IP interface with competition law and policy; Provide guidelines for authorities whose jurisdictions impact administration or enforcement of IPR such as patents and Biodiversity; protection of trade secrets.
- To examine the issues of technology transfer, know-how and licensing on fair and reasonable terms and provide a suitable legal frame work to address these issues.
ADMINISTRATION AND MANAGEMENT
- The administration of Copyright Act 1957 along with the Office of the Registrar of Copyrights, under the Department of Higher Education as well as the administration of the Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout Design Act 2000 along with the office of the Semiconductor Integrated Circuits LAYOUTDesign Registry under the Department of Electronics and Information Technology is being transferred to DIPP.
- The office of Controller General of Patents, Design, Trademarks (CGPDTM) has undergone up gradation in the last few years and mentions a list of changes such as fixing and adhering to timelines of registrations and disposal of opposition matters, adopting best practices of filing and docketing of documents, maintenance of records, user-friendly IP offices, to expedite digitization of Design office to enable online filing, examine joining of Centralized Access and Examination (CASE) and WIPO Digital Access Services (DAS) and few other changes in order to advance further.
- The office of Registrar of Copyrights will take measure to digitize copyrights records and introduce online facility, upgrade manpower resources for effective management as well as streamline processes for the grant of Copyrights.
COMMERCIALIZATION OF IPR:
It is described in the policy that a common public platform can serve as a database of IPRs would help creators and innovators connect to potential users, buyers and funding institutions. Few pivotal points mentioned in the policy can be summarized as below:
- Promote licensing and technology transfer for IPR; devising suitable contractual and licensing guidelines to enable commercialization of IPR; promote patent pooling and cross licensing to create IPR based products and services. Examine standard Essential Patents (SEPs) on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.
- Facilitating investments in IP driven industries and services through the proposed IP Exchange for bringing investors/funding agencies and IP owners/users together. Promote use of Free and Open source software along with adoption of open standards.
ENFORCEMENT AND ADJUDICATION
In order to strengthen the enforcement and adjudicatory mechanisms for combating IPR infringements the policy suggests various steps. The important points are summarized below:
- Measures to check counterfeiting and piracy are to be undertaken by the Government; To engage with all levels of industry, including e-commerce, in order to create respect for IP rights and devise collaborative strategies and tools; To undertake stringent measures to curb manufacture and sale of misbranded, adulterated and spurious drugs; measures to combat online and offline piracy;
- To strengthen the enforcement mechanisms for better protection of IP rights by augmenting manpower, infrastructure facilities and technological capabilities of the enforcement agencies and building capacity to check proliferation of digital crimes;
- Licensing practices or conditions that may have an adverse effect on competition will be addressed through appropriate measures, including regulation of anti-competitive conduct in the market by the competition commission of India; to adjudicate IP disputes through commercial courts, set up at appropriate level.
HUMAN CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT
The steps to be taken as mentioned in the Policy to strengthen and expand human resources, institutions and capacities for teaching, training, research and skill building in IPR can be summarized in the following points. It is mentioned in the Policy that the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion shall be the nodal point to coordinate, guide and oversee the implementation and future development of IPRs in India.
- To strengthen and empower Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Intellectual Property and Management, Nagpur to conduct training for IPR administrators, managers in industry and business, academicians, R&D institutions, IP professionals, inventors and civil society; train the trainers and develop training modules; develop links with other similar entities at the international level; provide legal training for examiners
- Strengthen IP teaching, Research and Training in collaboration with WIPO, WTO and other International Organizations and reputed foreign Universities.
The approved IPR policy is comprehensive that reiterates India's stand in terms of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). A systematic implementation of the steps and strategies mentioned in the Policy will promote for a holistic and conducive environment to tap the full potential of Intellectual Property Rights for the country's growth and economic development.
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