The new Intellectural Property Policy is in compliance with TRIPS. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley released India’s National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy recently. The Policy which is in compliance with WTO’s (World Trade Organisation) agreement on TRIPS (Trade Related aspects of IPRs), aims to sustain entrepreneurship and boost Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet scheme ‘Make in India.’
Here are the highlights:
- The Policy aims to push IPRs as a marketable financial asset, promote innovation and entrepreneurship, while protecting public interest.
- The plan will be reviewed every five years in consultation with stakeholders.
- In order to have strong and effective IPR laws, steps would be taken — including review of existing IP laws — to update and improve them or to remove anomalies and inconsistencies.
- Special thrust on awareness generation and effective enforcement of IPRs, besides encouragement of IP commercialisation through various incentives.
- India will engage constructively in the negotiation of international treaties and agreements in consultation with stakeholders. The government will examine accession to some multilateral treaties which are in India’s interest, and become a signatory to those treaties which India has de facto implemented to enable it to participate in their decision making process, the policy said.
- It suggests making the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) the nodal agency for all IPR issues. Copyrights related issues will also come under DIPP’s ambit from that of the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry.
- Trademark offices have been modernised, and the aim is to reduce the time taken for examination and registration to just 1 month by 2017. The government has already hired around 100 new examiners for trademarks. Examination time for trademarks has been reduced from 13 months to 8 months, with the new target being to bring the time down to one month by March 2017.
- Films, music, industrial drawings will be all covered by copyright.
- The Policy also seeks to facilitate domestic IPR filings, for the entire value chain from IPR generation to commercialisation. It aims to promote research and development through tax benefits.
- Proposal to create an effective loan guarantee scheme to encourage start-ups.
- It also says “India will continue to utilise the legislative space and flexibilities available in international treaties and the TRIPS Agreement.” These flexibilities include the sovereign right of countries to use provisions such as Section 3(d) and CLs for ensuring the availability of essential and life-saving drugs at affordable prices.
- The policy left the country’s patent laws intact and specifically did not open up Section 3(d) of the Patents Act, which sets the standard for what is considered an invention in India, for reinterpretation.
- On compulsory licensing (CL), India has issued only CL for a cancer drug. Mr. Jaitley said, “We rarely exercise this power.” The statement assumes significance as developed countries, including the US, have raised concerns over India issuing the CL. As per the WTO norms, a CL can be invoked by a government allowing a company to produce a patented product without the consent of the patent owner in public interest. Under the Indian Patents Act, a CL can be issued for a drug if the medicine is deemed unaffordable, among other conditions, and the government grants permission to qualified generic drug makers to manufacture it.
- The IPR policy favoured the government considering financial support for a limited period on sale and export of products based on IPRs generated from public-funded research.
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