Our honorable Prime Minister Mr. Modi has called for innovation in renewable energy to meet the soaring demand for electricity and to provide affordable energy to everyone. He has declared this decade 2010-2020 as Decade of innovation. Taking this initiative further India’s new Science, Technology and Innovation policy was released in 2013. It envisions to see India among the top five global scientific power by 2020. The main objective of this policy is to allocate special budget for innovation and Research and Development related activities, modification of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) for social goods and IPR generated under PPP; setting up of a regulatory and legal framework for sharing IPRs between investors and inventors.
Taking this further ahead, the Modi administration has expressed renewed interest in Intellectual Property (IP) and has given the hope to the global community regarding the future of innovation. Recently, this initiative was substantiated with the creation of national Intellectual Property Right (IPR) think tank and the release of draft national IPR policy. It is applauded among the industry as it recognizes the link between the IP protections and innovation.
Currently the IP system in India has a well-established legislative, administrative and judicial framework to safeguard Intellectual Property Right. India’s comprehensive legal framework on IPRs include:
• The Patents Act 1970 (Amended in 2005)
• The Trade Marks Act 1999
• The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registrations and Protection) Act 1999
• The Designs Act 2000
• The Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout Design Act 2000
• The Copyright Act 1957 (Amended in 2012)
• The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights Act 2001
The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) is responsible for four of the seven IP rights, i.e. patents, trademarks, designs and geographical indications. The other IP rights are administered by the Department of Higher Education (Copyright), the Department of Information Technology (Semi-Conductor and Integrated Circuits Layout Design) and the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (Plant varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act). Today, India’s IP system ensures the protection of IP while promoting the balance of rights and obligations between the producers and uses of IP.
This national IPR policy is drafted realizing the growing importance of strong and balanced IP system. Several initiatives have been undertaken to foster the environment for trade and technology in India. To facilitate the commercialization of IPRs and to create impact of innovation, the DIPP has constituted a thin tank to draft this national IPR policy. It will also act as an advisory to the government on range of patent related issues. This assumes significance as the past few months has been testimony to the growing synergy between India and the US after the visit of President Barack Obama on Republic Day celebrations. There seems to be an explicit recognition that trade between India and the US will be mutually beneficial to both the nations.
Keeping this mission in mind, the think tank will also give views on the possible implications of demands from various negotiating partner countries. India’s IPR policies have come under attack from the US, with the latter pinpointing out-of-the-cycle patent’s regime. The think tank will highlight anomalies in present IPR policies and advice possible solutions to the commerce industry. The think tank will be headed by six member panel including:
• Justice Prabha Sridevan, former chairperson of the Intellectual Property Apellate Board and former judge of the Madras High Court
• Pratibha Singh, Senior Advocate
• Punita Bhargava, Advocate, Inventure IP
• Unnat Pandit, Cadila Pharmaceuticals
• Rajeev Srinivasan, Director, Asian School of Business
• Narendra Sambarwal, retired DDG, WIPO
The objective of the think tank is to cull out a road map for the IPR policy. A well drafted IPR policy will help to bring legal certainty and transparency, having direct impact on business and economic growth. With the recent draft of IPR policy the stage has been set to embrace the solution. It remains to be seen how effectively the government supports the strong IP protections.
Contributed by my colleague, Snehal Mahajan