National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy

Published on 20 Sep 2016 by Team

National IPR Policy will lay the future roadmap for intellectual property in India. It 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 adopt global best practices to the Indian scenario.

National Intellectual Property Right Policy 2016: The Cabinet has approved the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) strategy on the 12th of May, 2016 to promote innovation, inventiveness, development, business enterprise and to make a bigger institutional structure to reinforce IPR administration, using the slogan " Creative India, Innovative India." The point is to create awareness about economic, social and cultural benefits of IPRs among all areas of society.

Impact of the New IPR policy

This policy shall weave in the strengths of the Government, research and development organisations, 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".

The Policy recognises that India has a well-established TRIPS-compliant legislative, administrative and judicial framework to safeguard IPRs, which meets its international obligations while utilising 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.

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Are you aware of what IPR really is!

While IPRs are becoming increasingly important in the global arena, there is a need to increase awareness on IPRs in India, be it regarding the IPRs owned by oneself or respect for others’ IPRs. The importance of IPRs as a marketable financial asset and economic tool also needs to be recognised. For this, domestic IP filings, as also commercialisation of patents granted, need to increase.The Policy lays down the following objectives:

IPR Awareness– To create public awareness about the economic, social and cultural benefits of IPRs among all sections of society.

Generation of IPRs– To stimulate the generation of IPRs.

Legal and Legislative Framework– To have strong and effective IPR laws, which balance the interests of rights owners with larger public interest.

Administration and Management– To modernise and strengthen service-oriented IPR administration.

• The commercialisation of IPRs– Get value for IPRs through commercialisation.

Enforcement and Adjudication– To strengthen the enforcement and adjudicatory mechanisms for combating IPR infringements.

Human Capital Development– To strengthen and expand human resources, institutions and capacities for teaching, training, research and skill building in IPRs.

IPR Prospect in regard to Pharmaceuticals Industry

Section 3(d) of the Indian Patent Act has moved up considerable controversy over the last many years within the Indian pharma industry - splitting multinational and Indian pharmaceutical companies as section 3 (d) says that mere discovery of a new form of a known substance without enhanced efficacy cannot be granted a patent. A detailed report commissioned by the IPA and authored by T. C. James, director, National Intellectual Property Organisation, and a former government bureaucrat in India's Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, found: "There is no clinching evidence to show that without a strong patent protection regime innovations cannot occur, that minor incremental innovations in the pharmaceutical sector do not require patent protection and that Section 3(d) of the Patents Act is not a bar for patenting of significant incremental innovations1". James also criticised large multinational companies for "exploring strategies to extend their hold on the market, including through obtaining patents on minor improvements of existing drugs2."

Supervising the IP assets of a pharma company is more than just acquiring the formal IP rights through the national or regional IP office. It is well-known fact that patent or trademark rights are not worth much unless they are effectively exploited. Today, the Indian pharma industry is expected to account for 22 percent of the generics world market. Current companies in the pharmaceutical industry are prepared to remove full value from their innovation, take sufficient steps to develop an IP strategy for their business and seek to apply it to their general business strategy. Companies start understanding the relationship between the IP system and the system for obtaining marketing approval for new drugs in the country.

The speedy progress of knowledge in an industry would finally create the demand, required to speed up the commercialisation process. In order to win the race, an option of compulsory license would be a fruitful result for Indian pharma industry. This not only increases the demand for low-value drugs but also allows the Indian pharma industry to grow. Another method of achieving the objective is to reduce the cost of the commercialisation process. Reducing cost is important to any attempt at efficiency; diversity in research, for instance, cannot be achieved if unavoidable regulatory cost is prohibitive.

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Trade secrets and confidential information

Companies should regularly identify and label trade secrets. They should use confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements to notify and reinforce confidentiality provisions. In addition, all the files and relevant documents should be marked as confidential and the standards for non-disclosure of such information should be clearly mentioned in the employee handbook. Any disclosure of a company's confidential information to third parties should be governed by a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).

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Importance of Intellectual Property

Intellectual property protection is the key factor for economic growth and advancement in the high technology sector. They are good for business, benefit the public at large and act as catalysts for technical progress. Whether IPRs are a good or bad thing, the developed world has come to an accommodation with them over a long period. Even if their disadvantages sometimes outweigh their advantages, by and large, the developed world has the national economic strength and established legal mechanisms to overcome the problems so caused. In so far as their benefits outweigh their disadvantages, the developed world has the wealth and infrastructure to take advantage of the opportunities provided. It is likely that neither of these holds true for developing and least developed countries. 

Administration and management

The object should be to modernise the IPR administration which is service oriented. The IPOs now have the challenge to make their operation more cost-effective and efficient and at the same time become more user-friendly by giving user-friendly services to the users. Technical cooperation should be promoted with continuous efforts in areas like training, human resource development and other services.

Commercialisation of IPR

In order to capture the monetary value of the IPRs, the entrepreneurship should be encouraged. It is important to link IP creators and investors because financing is crucial for entrepreneurs. The public platform should be created so that the innovators can approach the potential users, buyers and funding institutions. This object aims to promote free and open source software, provide opportunities for e-commerce and promotes public sector initiatives for IPR commercialisation.

Enforcement and adjudication

The national IP policy aims to adjudicate upon those who infringe the rights of the IP owners. There is a need to identify the piracy and counterfeiting. Multi-disciplinary modules are also required for the other stakeholders. "This objective can be ordained by educating the general public on the shortcomings of counterfeited products, establishing IP cells for controlling offences relating to IP, referring the case relating to the IP disputes through commercial courts, set up at appropriate level, creating IP modules for the benefit of Judges, conducting regular IP workshops and promoting alternative dispute resolution".

Human capital development

The purpose is to expand the human resources with the view to build national capacity for providing leadership in the field of IPR. With the implementation of this object, there will be the enhancement of multi?disciplinary human and institutional capacity for policy development. Steps such as developing skill development centres, encouraging women innovators, starting distance learning IP courses and collaborating IP training with WIPO and WTO should be taken in order to achieve this objective.

The benefits to the public that are contained in the policy will be undermined when the policy will be implemented. Therefore, there is a possibility that this policy could cause pressure on the economy rather than minimising it.

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