The National IPR Policy is one among the many steps yet to come in cementing the future of Intellectual Property on a global scale. It not only calls for creation and innovation from the masses but also provides ways to safeguards such creations and commercialize them to the best interest of such creators and innovators. The policy is a correct blend for attracting foreign investments from different countries. A speedy process for IP registrations also works in the favour of foreign companies which will in turn serve their IP needs in India. This promotes domestic as well as foreign IP filings in the country.
The policy which was unveiled this year aims to foster creativity and growth by promoting science and technology. It also aims to create awareness about IPR as an economic asset.
While unveiling the policy, the government had specifically announced that the policy is in consonance with TRIPS of the World Trade Organization. The NIPR comes with a set of 7 objectives that needs to be undertaken by the identified nodal ministry or department and work towards attaining such objectives. These objectives provide for a wide range of duties, responsibilities and objectives to be performed by the identified ministries in the objectives.
The 7 major objectives are:
- 1st Objective: IPR Awareness: Outreach and Promotion
- 2nd Objective: Generation of IPRs
- 3rd Objective: Legal and Legislative Framework
- 4th Objective: Administration and Management
- 5th Objective: Commercialization of IP
- 6th Objective: Enforcement and Adjudication
- 7th Objective: Human Capital Development
The NIPR policy comes with the foremost motive of increasing awareness about social, cultural and economic benefits IPR to all sections of the society. It not only stimulates the generation of innovation and creativity but also provides ways to commercialize them. The policy with its slogan “ Creative India: Innovative India” aims to spread awareness to the maximum people possible so that their knowledge, creativity and innovation does not go to waste. By this people can understand to commercially exploit their own potential and putting it to best possible use for the country and themselves.
Bringing Traditional Knowledge into the field of IPR is a commendable job by the framers of the policy however such traditional knowledge is a rare asset and the access to its database should be restricted to the extent that multinational companies should not make slight variations to it and use it to their own benefit. The need for recognizing the introduction of a sui-generis law for Traditional Knowledge is an important highlight of this policy. By the way of this policy, the ambit of a Traditional Knowledge Digital Library is to be expanded and how it can be used for research and development purposes. However the policy fails to explain details about the ownership of a traditional knowledge.
The government by the way of the NIPR policy aims to use the IPR more towards supporting the less empowered people in the society such as farmers, weavers etc. By doing this, the policy intends to use such rights not just for commercial purpose but also for socio- economic purposes.
Bringing the Copyrights Act and the Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout Design under one roof of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) enhances its commercial efficiency. Every government and other state departments have been asked to create an IPR cell to work in coordination with the DIPP.
The policy states that India will engage in being signatories to international treaties which it is de facto a part of. It also states that international treaties and agreements to which India is a part of would be constructively negotiated and new agreements would also be made.
A lot of critics had argued that the policy was developed due to pressures from the USA to help their pharmaceutical industry to benefit in the Indian markets, however the policy evidently phased that argument out by aiming to impact the national interests in the pharmaceutical sector. The policy ensures enhanced access to affordable medicines and other drugs; make efforts to reduce dependency on pharmaceutical imports in the country; protect the traditional knowledge in the field of pharmacy from misappropriation; encourage public funded institutes to develop affordable drugs to neglected diseases and provides guidance to researchers & innovators to focus on food, security and healthcare.
The policy seeks to facilitate the maximization of patent generation and consequently its commercialization. The policy by including R&D and other institutes and organizations in generating IPs is boosting them to innovate more.
India does not have a specific law on Trade Secrets. Keeping this in mind, the policy aims to create specified laws on trade secrets and its protection. The scope of the Copyright Act has also been widened by including films and music apart from books and publications. Provisions for the duplication of films would be added to the Cinematography Act.
Start-ups is the most promising sector in any economy especially the Indian economy. The policy provides for huge incentives and ease of IP registrations to start-ups and other small and medium enterprises at a minimum possible time. This will encourage the start-ups to innovate and create better.
The policy also focuses on bringing down the registration period for Trademarks, Copyrights and Patents and make the process digitized in order to make it as transparent as possible. A world class standard would be set if such a reduced time period is achieved. The policy talks about recruiting people and training them in order to address the pendency of IP applications and also to modernize the entire process. Training is also to be provided to the personnel of the IP offices to update them about the procedural aspects of upcoming laws and technologies. Regular examinations of the Patent and Trade Mark agents are also to be conducted in order to make them efficient in what they do.
The policy lists out many objectives but it fails to provide specifics for some of them. It seems vague in certain areas where some of the points have only been named in order for them to be mentioned in the policy but no comprehensive follow ups regarding those are provided. For example, innovation and creativity can be called as the two pillars of this policy however in order to innovate and create, no mention of how the knowledge can be accessed is provided in the policy. This could be one of the reasons why the patent filings in India is very low as recognized by the policy.
Similarly the policy talks about the finance ability of IPRs in the market however it remains silent on how their evaluation should to be done. It is hopeful that a detailed follow up regarding all the unaddressed issues of the policy will be brought forward by the government in the form of new and updated laws and regulations.
It is hopeful that the objectives of this policy is achieved so that India can be tagged as one of the countries with a strong and an adequate Intellectual Property Regime.