The Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) provides a secure ecosystem for investors, scientists, artists, designers, traders etc. to foster innovation and scientific temper. The National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy was released by the Union Finance Minister in May 2016. The Policy which is in compliance with the WTO's (World Trade Organisation) agreement on TRIPS (Trade Related aspects of IPRs), aims to sustain entrepreneurship and boost the flagship scheme 'Make in India.'
The new national Intellectual Property Rights Policy lays down the following seven objectives:
(i) IPR Awareness: Outreach and Promotion - To make public awareness about various aspects- the economic, social and cultural benefits of IPRs among all sections of society.
(ii) Generation of IPRs - To encourage the generation of IPRs.
(iii) Legal and Legislative Framework - To have strong and effective IPR laws, which balance the interests of rights owners with larger public interest.
(iv) Administration and Management - To modernise and strengthen service-oriented IPR administration.
(v) Commercialization of IPRs - Get value for IPRs through commercialization.
(vi) Enforcement and Adjudication - To strengthen the enforcement and adjudicatory mechanisms for combating IPR infringements.
(vii) Human Capital Development - To strengthen and enlarge human resources, institutions and capacities for learning, training, research and skill building in IPRs.
These objectives are sought to be achieved through detailed action points. The action by different Ministries/ Departments shall be monitored by DIPP which shall be the nodal department to coordinate, guide and oversee implementation and future development of IPRs in India.
The new National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy will endeavour for a “Creative India; Innovative India: रचनात्मक भारत; अभिनव भारत”.
An India where creativity and innovation are enthused by Intellectual Property for the benefit of the mass; an India where intellectual property encourages advancement in science and technology, arts and culture, traditional acquaintance 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 socio-economic 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.
Focus Areas of National Intellectual Property Rights Policy
Key points of the new IPR Policy
- The new policy aims to push IPRs as a marketable financial asset, promote innovation and entrepreneurship, while protecting the interest of public at a large.
- The policy will be reviewed at an interval of every five years in consultation with various stakeholders.
- In order to make strong and effective IPR laws in the country, steps would be taken includes:
- review of existing IP laws
- to update and improve them
- to remove anomalies and inconsistencies.
- The new IPR policy of India is entirely compliant with the WTO’s agreement on TRIPS.
- Special thrust of the policy on awareness generation and effective enforcement of IPRs, besides encouragement of IP commercialisation through various incentives.
- As per the new policy India will engage constructively in the negotiation of international treaties and agreements in consultation with stakeholders. The government will inspect accession to some multilateral treaties which are in India's interest, and become a signatory to those treaties which India has de facto implemented to enable it to participate in their decision making process.
- It policy suggests making the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) as the nodal agency for all IPR issues in the country. Copyrights related issues will also come under the DIPP’s ambit from that of the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry.
- Trademark offices have been modernised, and the aim is to reduce the time taken for examination and registration to just 1 month by 2017. The government has already hired around 100 new examiners for trademarks. Examination time for trademarks has been reduced from 13 months to 8 months, with the new target being to bring the time down to one month by March 2017.
- While the films, music, industrial drawings will be all covered by copyright.
- The policy also seeks to assist domestic IPR filings, for the entire value chain from IPR generation to commercialisation. It aims to promote research and development through various tax benefits.
- The policy has the proposal to create an effective loan guarantee scheme to encourage start-ups in the country.
- The policy also says “India will continue to utilise the legislative space and flexibilities available in international treaties and the TRIPS Agreement.” These flexibilities include the sovereign rights of countries to use provisions such as Section 3(d) and CLs for ensuring the availability of essential and life-saving drugs at affordable prices.
- The new policy left the country’s patent laws intact or unchanged and specifically did not open up Section 3(d) of the Patents Act, which sets the benchmark for what is considered an invention in India, for re-interpretation.
- On compulsory licensing (CL), India has issued only CL for a cancer drug. As the Union Finance Ministry officials said that India is rarely exercising this power which may be a concern for the developed countries including the US. The US has raised concerns over India issuing the CL. As per the existing WTO norms, a CL can be invoked by a government allowing a company to produce a patented product without the approval of the patent owner in public interest. Under the Indian Patents Act, a CL can be issued for a drug if the medicine is deemed unaffordable, among other conditions, and the government grants permission to competent generic drug makers to manufacture it.
- The new IPR policy favoured the government considering financial support for a limited period on sale and export of products based on IPRs generated from public-funded research.
The new IPR Policy rightly identifies the growing importance of IP in India and it also intends to tackle several IPR confrontations during the generation, protection and commercialisation stages of Intellectual Properties (IPs). Apart from these, it also endeavours to address the irregularities in the existing framework and has taken significant steps to balance the interests of individuals’ rights with the public interest. The new policy may be used as a springboard by the stakeholders to take proactive measures to transform their innovation capabilities.
Now, currently there are separate departments and ministries in India to deal the various subject matters of IPR which needs some integration on priority basis. This will help to address the complexities lies in the process. Strict implementation of the IPR policy is required to make balance between the private rights and public interests. The government should make the policy more incentivised for the individual innovators, investors, artists, designers, traders etc, so, that exploration of new inventions and dimensions could be possible in the country.