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 Geographical Indications under the new IPR Policy. The policy identifies GIs as an area of strength and optimism for India.
The following positive considerations are provided with respect to Geographical Indications (GIs):
The IPR Policy takes a systematic approach to achieve its objectives. The policy in furtherance of its objectives, explores various means to create awareness about IPR and specifically, with respect to Geographical Indications. It aims at creating public awareness relating to Geographical Indications by reaching out to IP generators and holders, more specifically in the rural and remote areas, with an aim to target small businesses, farmers/ plant variety users, holders of traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions and folklore, designers and artisans. It aims to shift how knowledge is being viewed and valued. The Policy also makes an effort to transform knowledge into IP assets by exhorting monetization of knowledge which has never been the norm in India.
The IPR Policy seeks to stimulate generation of IPRs by laying emphasis on encouragement of registration of Geographical Indications (GIs) through support institutions. The Policy also seeks to assist GI producers to define and maintain acceptable quality standards, and provide better marketability.
- The Office of the Controller General of Patents Designs and Trademarks, that has gone through various upgrades in the recent past, under the new Policy will see more of such advancements through the following measures:
- Fixing and adhering to timelines for grant of registrations and disposal of opposition matters;
- Adopting best practices with respect to filing and docketing of documents, maintenance of records and digitizing the same including document workflow and tracking systems;
- Creating a service-oriented culture to make the IP office user friendly;
- Ensuring that public records in the IP office are easily available and accessible both online and offline;
Conducting periodic audits of processes being adopted in IP administration for efficient grant and management of IP rights;
- 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);
- Removing disparities, if any, among different branches of the trademark registries and adopting standardized procedures in examination/grant of applications including maintenance of rights;
Examining joining Centralized Access for Search and Examination (CASE) and WIPO Digital Access Services (DAS);
Conducting trademark agent examinations at regular intervals, arranging training programs and involving them in capacity building activities.In furtherance to its objective of commercialization of IPRs, the Policy with respect to GIs provides for identification of opportunities for marketing Indian IPR-based products, especially GIs, and services to a global audience.
The Policy also seeks to encourage enterprises to create brand equity from their IP rights, such as GIs.
These are the few specific GIs related provisions excluding the common policies and strategies provided in the new IPR Policy for development and advancement of IP system in India.
Authored by Bhuvana S. Babu