Salient Features of the National IPR Policy – Part 2

In this part of the post we will list down some of the important salient features of the National IPR Policy. To read the first part of this post click here.

The National IPR Policy has 7 objectives and each of the objectives has been laid out quite well along with the steps that need to be taken to achieve them. These objectives and some of the important steps involved in achieving these objectives are provided below.

OBJECTIVE 1: IPR Awareness: Outreach and Promotion

Under this objective the policy intends to create public awareness about the economic, social and cultural benefits of IPRs among all sections of the society. Some of the key steps that the policy aims to take in attaining this objective are as enlisted below:

  • Creating a systematic campaign for promotion of India’s IP strengths by conveying to all stakeholders the value and benefits of IP. This is going to be achieved by customizing programs for specific needs of industries, MSMEs, start-ups, R&D institutions, science and technology institutes, universities and colleges, inventors and creators, entrepreneurs. It also involves reaching out to the less visible and silent IP generators and holders, especially in the rural and remote areas. Involving eminent personalities as ‘ambassadors’ to spread awareness and importance of IP in India. Creating materials for IP promotion in multiple languages and pictorial form for those who cannot read.
  • Create well-publicized events and ongoing programs to emphasize the importance of IP by partnering with industry bodies, large corporations and institutions of R&D and higher learning, Setting up India’s ‘Hall of Fame’ to celebrate IP innovators and creators.
  • Engaging with the media to sensitize them regarding IP related issues.

OBJECTIVE 2: Generation of IPRs.

 In order to stimulate the generation of IPRs, the policy intends to take the following key steps:

  • Undertake studies to assess the contribution of IP content in different industries on the economy, employment, exports and technology transfer
  • Focus on improving IPR output of National Research Laboratories, Universities, Technology Institutions and other researchers by encouraging and facilitating the acquisition of Intellectual Property Rights by them.
  • Include IP creation as a key performance metric for public funded R&D entities as well as Technology Institutions, and gradually extend such evaluation from Tier-1 to Tier-2 Institutions.
  • Encourage public funded R&D institutes and industry to develop affordable drugs relating to neglected diseases.
  • Encourage R&D including open source based research such as Open Source Drug Discovery (OSDD) by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for new inventions for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, especially those that are life threatening and those that have high incidence in India.
  • Establish and strengthen IP facilitation centers as nodal points especially in industrial and innovation university clusters.
  • Improve awareness of the value of copyright for creators, the importance of their economic and moral rights.
  • Introduce support systems for MSMEs, start-ups and grass root innovators to reduce transaction costs linked to IP creation for the entire value chain from IPR generation to commercialization, including schemes to facilitate domestic IPR filings.
  • Document oral traditional knowledge, taking care that the integrity of the said knowledge is preserved and traditional ways of life of communities are not compromised.
  • Increase awareness of international mechanisms and treaties (e.g. PCT, Madrid, Hague) to encourage creation and protection of IPRs by Indian individuals and entities in global markets.
  • Encourage creation of design related IP rights by identifying, nurturing and promoting the aspects of innovation protectable under the design law and educating designers to utilize and benefit from their designs; involve the NIDs, NIFTs and others institutions in sensitization campaigns.

OBJECTIVE 3: Legal and Legislative Framework

In order to have strong and effective IPR laws, which balance the interests of rights owners with larger public interest, the policy seeks to achieve the objective through the following measures:

  • Review existing IP laws, where necessary, to update and improve them or to remove anomalies and inconsistencies, if any, in consultation with stakeholders.
  • Engage constructively in the negotiation of international treaties and agreements in consultation with stakeholders; examine accession to some multilateral treaties which are in India’s interest; and, become signatory to those treaties which India has de facto implemented to enable it to participate in their decision making process.
  • Continue to engage actively and constructively in the deliberations at various international fora to develop legally binding international instrument(s) to protect Traditional Konwledge (TK), Genetic Resources (GR) and Traditional Cultural Expressions (TCE).
  • Pursue transfer of clean technology and know-how from developed countries to India.
  • Review and update IP related rules, guidelines, procedures and practices for clarity, simplification, streamlining, transparency and time bound processes in administration and enforcement of IP right.

OBJECTIVE 4: Administration and Management

Under this objective the policy aims to modernize and strengthen service-oriented IPR administration. Some of the important steps that have been identified in order to attain this objective include:

  • Bringing the administration of the Copyright Act 1957 along with the office of the Registrar of Copyrights, administration of the Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout-Design Act 2000 along with the office of the Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout-Design Registry (SICLDR) and creating a Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) under the aegis of the DIPP;
  • Modernizing the physical and ICT infrastructure taking into account the expanding needs of the IPOs and to accelerate e-filings, e-processing and other e-services;
  • Collaborating with various R&D Institutions, Universities, Funding Agencies, Chambers of Industry and Commerce in providing advisory services to improve IP creation, management and utilization;
  • Making efforts to include TKDL as a part of PCT minimum documentation;
  • Some noteworthy action points specific to Office of the Controller General of Patents Designs and Trademarks include:
    • Fixing and adhering to timelines for grant of registrations and disposal of opposition matters;
    • Taking steps to expedite digitization of the Design office and enable online search and filing;
    • Conducting periodic audits of processes being adopted in IP administration for efficient grant and management of IP rights;
    • Implementing quality standards at all stages of operations with the aim to obtain ISO certification;
    • Examining joining Centralized Access for Search and Examination (CASE) and WIPO Digital Access Services (DAS);
    • Conducting patent and trademark agent examinations at regular intervals; arranging training programs and involving them in capacity building activities
  • With respect to the Office of the registrar of Copyrights some of the important action points include:
    • Taking measures to expedite modernization of the Copyright Office in terms of office space and infrastructure, organizational structure, e-filing facility including e-applications, processing and issue of final extracts of registrations;
    • Taking urgent measures for effective management and administration of copyright societies to ensure transparency and efficiency in the collection and disbursement of royalties in the best interest of the right holders;
    • Streamlining the processes to grant copyright permissions to individual creators, enterprises and institutions for their creative work.

OBJECTIVE 5: Commercialization of IPR

The fifth objective under the policy concentrates on the need to commercialize IPRs and obtain value from the same.  Besides strengthening the existing Incubators and Accelerators the policy aims at bringing together IP creators and investors. The policy gives primacy to consolidate IP funding by different government departments in order to refrain from duplication of efforts. Further, it also aims at commercialization of research by the various public-funded research laboratories, academia and other institutions.

In order to uplift smaller institutions, MSMEs, individual innovators etc. the policy addresses the impediments that such entities might face in commercializing their IPRs and that efficient IP facilitation centers may solve such issues.

A common database has been suggested where IP creators can interact and engage with potential buyers and investors. This is slated to bring to the fore several opportunities to explore the potential of newer technologies.

In order to fulfill the above mentioned objective, some important action plans include:

  • Undertaking tasks through CIPAM such as providing a platform for IPR owners and users of IPRs by acting as a facilitator for creators and innovators to be connected with potential users, buyers and funding agencies, establishing links among different organizations for exchange of information and ideas as also to develop promotional/educational products and services, facilitating access to databases on Indian IP and global databases of creators/ innovators, market analysts, funding agencies, IP intermediaries;
  • Promoting licensing and technology transfer for IPRs; devising suitable contractual and licensing guidelines to enable commercialization of IPRs; promote patent pooling and cross licensing to create IPR based products and services;
  • Examining availability of Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms;
  • Identifying opportunities for marketing Indian IPR-based products, especially GIs, and services to a global audience;
  • Ensuring enhanced access to affordable medicines and other healthcare solutions 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;
  • Promoting use of Free and Open Source Software along with adoption of open standards; possibility of creating Indian standard operating environments will be examined;
  • Promote going-to-market activities by: creating mechanisms to help MSMEs and research institutions to validate pilots and scale up through market testing, providing seed funding for marketing activities such as participating in trade fairs, industry standards bodies and other forums, providing guidance and support to IPR owners about commercial opportunities of e-commerce through Internet and mobile platforms, encouraging enterprises to create brand equity from their IP rights, such as trademarks and GIs.

OBJECTIVE 6: Enforcement and Adjudication

The policy recognizes the importance of safeguarding IP rights and the appropriate legal remedies that the IP holder may seek to use against any misuse and infringement of such rights. Certain important points directed to fulfil these objectives are as following:

  • Creating awareness of the value of IP and respect for IP culture by- educating the general public including the younger population about the ills of pirated products; engaging with all levels of the industry and using collaborative strategies and tools and educating inventors and creators how to protect and enforce their rights.
  • Taking strong measures against attempts to treat generic drugs as spurious or counterfeit;
  • Assisting smaller firms in protecting their IPRs internationally.
  • Pursuing incidents of misappropriation of TK, GR and TCE in other countries vigorously;
  • Strengthening the enforcement mechanisms for better protection of IP rights by enhanced coordination between the various agencies and providing direction and guidance on strengthening enforcement measures; coordinating with and sharing of intelligence and best practices at the national and international level; studying the extent of IP violations in various sectors; examining the implications of jurisdictional difficulties among enforcement authorities; and introducing appropriate technology based solutions for curbing digital piracy; Providing regular training, including refresher training, for officials in the enforcement agencies at their academies; Initiating fact-finding studies in collaboration with stakeholders concerned to assess the extent of counterfeiting and piracy and the reasons behind it as well as measures to combat it.
  • Providing the Competition Commission of India with the onus of regulating anti-competitive conduct.
  • Facilitating effective adjudication of IP disputes through different measures including: Adjudicate IP disputes through Commercial Courts, set up at appropriate level; Creating IP modules including case laws for the benefit of judges who deal in IP; conducting regular IP workshops / colloquia at the judicial academies; promoting ADRs in the resolution of IP cases by strengthening mediation and conciliation centres, and developing ADR capabilities and skills in the field of IP;

OBJECTIVE 7: Human Capital Development

The policy recognizes the relevance of developing human capital in order to adequately utilize and exploit the full potential of the IPRs, leading to subsequent economic growth. In order to build a reservoir of skilled and abled experts and professionals, the policy seeks to:

  • Strengthen and empower RGNIIPM, Nagpur to conduct training for IPR administrators and managers in industry and business, academicians, R&D institutions; IP professionals; inventors and civil society; train the trainers and develop training modules; develop links with other similar entities at the international level; provide legal training for examiners;
  • Introduce multi-disciplinary IP courses/ modules in all major training institutes such as Judicial Academies, National Academy of Administration, Police and Customs Academies, Institute for Foreign Service Training, Forest Training Institutes;
  • Encourage formulation of institutional IP Policy/ Strategy in Government Departments, Higher Education, Research and Technical Institutions;
  • Progressively introduce IP teaching in Schools, Colleges and other Educational Institutions and centres of skill development;
  • Develop distance learning and on-line courses on IP for all categories of users; strengthen IP teaching in open universities and centres of skill development;

Authored by Anchita Sharma and Gaurav Mishra.