National IPR Policy – Design Related Objectives

India approved its first ever Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) policy on 13th May 2016 with a vision to stimulate creativity and innovation and to promote advancement in science and technology, art and culture, traditional knowledge and biodiversity resources.

The policy lays out seven broad objectives and they are as follows:

  • Awareness: outreach and promotion;
  • Generation of IPRs;
  • Legal and legislative framework;
  • Administration and management;
  • Commercialization of IPR;
  • Enforcement and adjudication; and
  • Human capital development.

This article considers various provisions relating to designs under the new IPR Policy. The Policy notes that the number of design applications which are currently being filed in India, is nowhere near India’s potential, given its vast pool of designers, artisans and artists. The Policy recognizes India’s large talent pool of scientific and technological talent spread over R&D institutions, enterprises, universities and technical institutes and expresses the need to tap this fertile knowledge resource and stimulate the creation of IP assets.

Following positive considerations are provided with respect to Design in the IPR Policy:

  • The Policy in its objective to encourage generation of IPRs, relating to design specifically, discusses the need to encourage creation of design related IP rights by identifying, nurturing and promoting the aspects of innovation protectable under the design law and educate designers to utilize and benefit from their designs.  The Policy  also discusses the move to involve the NIDs,NIFTs and others institutions in sensitization campaigns.
  • The Office of the Controller General of Patents Designs and Trademarks (CGPDTM), that has gone through various upgrades  in the recent past, under the new Policy will see more of such advancements through following measures:
  1. Fixing and adhering to timelines for grant of registrations and disposal of opposition matters;
  2. Adopting  best practices with respect to filing and docketing of documents, maintenance of records and digitizing the same including document workflow and tracking systems;
  3. Creating  a service-oriented culture to make the IP office user friendly;
  4. Ensuring that public records in the IP office are easily available and accessible both online and offline;
  5. Conducting periodic audits of processes being adopted in IP administration for efficient grant and management of IP rights;
  6. Providing continuous training to staff of the IP Office to update them regarding developments in procedures (especially search and examination),substantive laws and technologies, with the Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Intellectual Property Management, Nagpur (RGNIIPM);
  7. Removing disparities, if any, among different branches of the trademark registries and adopting  standardized procedures in examination/grant of applications including maintenance of rights;
  8. Examining joining Centralized Access for Search and Examination (CASE) and WIPO Digital Access Services (DAS);
  9. Conducting trademark agent examinations at regular intervals, arranging training programs and involving them in capacity building activities.
  • The Policy lays responsibility on the Registrar to study the reasons for lack of interest in filings under the Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout Design Act, 2000 and suggest appropriate remedial measures.
  • The Policy also seeks liaising with the concerned Group in the Design wing under the CGPDTM for further working.

These are the few specific design related provisions excluding the other common policies and strategies provided in the new IPR Policy for development and advancement of IP system in India.

Authored by Bhuvana S. Babu

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