Q) “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. Why is the National IPR policy the need of the hour? Also discuss the salient features of this policy.”
The National IPR Policy is a vision document that encompasses and brings to a single platform all IPRs.
The Policy recognizes that India has a well-established TRIPS-compliant legislative, administrative and judicial framework to safeguard IPRs, which meets its international obligations while utilizing the flexibilities provided in the international regime to address its developmental concerns. It reiterates India’s commitment to the Doha Development Agenda and the TRIPS agreement.
Need of the national IPR policy:
- Global drug brands led by US companies have been pushing for changes to India’s intellectual property rules for quite some time now. They have often complained about India’s price controls and marketing restrictions so a IPR policy should be brought into action.
- Also, an IPR policy is important for the government to formulate incentives in the form of tax concessions to encourage research and development (R&D). It is also critical to strengthen the Make In India, Startup and Digital India schemes.
- The IPR policy comes at a time when India and other emerging countries faces fresh challenges from the developed world and mega regional trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
- Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM): A Cell CIPAM shall be created as a professional body under aegis of DIPP now Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade) to address the 7 identified objectives of the Policy. It will coordinate with agencies at State level and with the various Ministries/ Departments of the Union Government. The data generated at CIPAM shall serve as a valuable resource for future policy.
- Awareness Campaign: To be launched in schools, institutions of higher education like engineering colleges and law schools, centres of skill development, industry clusters etc, it aims to foster an IP culture in the country by creating awareness about the economic, social and cultural benefits of IPRs among all sections and enabling people to realize the value of their IPs as also respect for other IPRs.
- IP Cells: IP cells shall be created in key Ministries/ Departments of the Govt of India, which are vital the field of IPRs, as well as in State Governments, Industry associations and clusters and major academic institutions. CIPAM shall coordinate with the Cells.
- Generation, registration and commercialization: The Policy aims to encourage creativity and innovation, leading to generation of IPs and their protection through IPRs. Registration of Geographical Indications (GIs) shall be encouraged through support institutions.
- Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL): TKDL’s ambit is to be expanded to include other fields besides Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani & Siddha. The possibility of using TKDL for furthering R&D by public research institutions and private sector will be explored.
- The Policy recognizes the importance of effective coordination between Patent office and National Biodiversity Authority for speeding up the disposal of patent applications using biological resources and associated TK.
- Cadre Management in IP Offices: The Policy recognizes the crucial role of a motivated work force in productivity enhancements. The organizational and cadre structure of the Indian IP Offices shall be studied and reviewed with a view to enhance efficiency and productivity.
- Access to Medicines: Access to affordable medicines and other healthcare solutions is becoming a challenge for all countries. India too faces a growing challenge on this count. The Policy recognises this and aims to enhance this by (a) encouraging cross-sector partnerships between public sector, private sector, universities and NGOs; (b) promoting novel licensing models, and (c) developing novel technology platforms.
- Piracy/ Counterfeiting: Offline and online piracy is a serious concern and needs to be combated through public awareness as also legal and enforcement mechanisms.
- Assistance to smaller firms: Smaller firms need assistance for protection of their IPRs internationally. Schemes such as DeitY’s Support for International Patent Protection in Electronics and IT (SIP-EIT) are to be enhanced.
- Judicial Awareness & Resolution of IP disputes: Since IPRs are a specialised discipline, awareness amongst the judiciary is crucial since judicial precedents set the tone of the country’s IP regime. For this, it is important that IP modules for judges be formulated, including regular IP workshops / colloquia at the judicial academies. Commercial Courts set up at appropriate levels will be responsible for adjudicating IP disputes.
- Resolution of IP cases through Alternate Dispute Resolution methods shall reduce burden on judiciary and provide speed and inexpensive resolution of disputes. Mediation and conciliation centres need strengthening, and ADR capabilities and skills in the field of IP developed.
The Policy recognises 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.