NATIONAL IPR POLICY : WAY FORWARD
Today’s topic is based on my speech at a seminar organized by Confederation of Indian Industries & Andhra Pradesh Technology Development Center on the National IPR Policy and Way forward for India.
My talk is converted into text for the benefit of several interested delegates in understanding the advancement of IPR policy in India and immediate steps to be adopted.
Good evening Ladies & Gentlemen,
Firstly, let me tell you that the present IP Policy Document is not the first National-IP document in India.
After the Independence, the Government of India constituted a committee under the Chairmanship of Justice (Dr.) Bakshi Tek Chand, a retired Judge of Lahore High Court, in 1949 to review the patent law in India in order to ensure that the patent system is conducive to the national interest. This committee submitted its interim report in 1949 with recommendations for prevention of misuse or abuse of patent rights in India.
Later in 1957, the Government of India appointed Justice N. Rajagopala Ayyangar Committee to examine the question of revision of the Patent Law and advise government accordingly. This report of the Committee, recommended major changes in the Patent System including repealing the product patent system in India.
Todays development of Health Sector & Drug (Medicines) Industry is because of good fore-thought recommendations of Justice Iyengar. He was one of the many committed Indians of that time, who have contributed with all his foresight by putting national interest above everything.
Now, after Patent Regime is effective in India, Government of India once again appointed Justice Prabha Sridevan as Chairman constituting “Think-tank” for Indian IPR System to frame the New IP Policy overseeing all the aspect for its effective implementation.
Though the new IP Policy document comprises several aspects, I wish to put forward before the august audience of six point system to show a way forward for its effective implementation.
First: Strengthen IP Offices
Indian IP Offices were very well built in the period between 2006-2008 with proper space for an occupancy of about not less that 500 staff working at a time, in each of these five offices in the country. However, Indian Government should concentrate on the recruitment of the sufficient, talented Manpower to work from these spaces provided. Moreover, continuous and effective training system should be implemented to train these staff to be at par with the other major IP offices world-wide.
As on today there is huge back-log of the applications for patents and trademarks in these IP offices. If the government cannot provide the sufficient staff immediately, they must atleast allow the out-sourcing of the examination of patents & trademark applications pending before the IP offices.
I personally suggest that Indian IP officers i.e., controllers & examiners should take supervisory role above the outsourced examiners, so that any complaints received from the applicants may be attended effectively. By this way there can be easy and immediate decline of the present load on the IP offices.
Second: Utility Model Patents:
At many instances in the IP Policy, mentioned about bringing the awareness among the society to the extent rural and remote areas. In rural and remote areas, there will be mostly petty and small-time invention to serve immediate need of the public. Such inventions cannot be filed under the Technological Patenting system making them to go through all the stringent patentability steps. And as we all know, it takes few years to get the final grant, by that time the importance of this small-time invention will be lost.
In such cases Utility Model Patents are suitable to encourage Micro, Small and Medium enterprises. Unlike patents, utility model rights are granted for shorter time span, say 6 or 10 years, without the renewal or extension possibility. These models are comparatively cheaper in obtaining and maintaining. It is possible to grant utility model without following the lengthy process of examination.
Utility Model Patents are successful in the countries like Germany, Japan, China, Finland, Indonesia etc., and in some countries they are called as ‘Petty Patents‘.
Third: University – Industry link:
The interdependent research relationships between universities and companies enable both entities to sustain growth in their areas. While companies rely on university researchers for product innovations, faculty gain prestige through increased external research funds. Just as industry needs innovative ideas to ensure profits, researchers need additional research money to sustain faculty productivity.
As on today we have thousands of Doctorate Degree holders (Ph.D)who are awarded after their research work in the Universities. But, none of them show interest in building their career in the field of their research and working in the growth of their innovative idea in their research. This is due to the lack of proper study and work in their research fields. If India produces thousands of these doctorates in few years, it must have also produced thousands of new inventions. Where are they? These research works are only useful to gain a doctorate degree for these people.
Hence, the bond between the university and industry is important. Every research department of any university should be constituted with a committee and advisory members from the local industry in that field. This brings a change in the pattern and the way the students look into their researches. Entrusting their research requirements to these amateur scientists can also benefit industry.
Fourth: All IPR Protection bodies under one roof:
Presently India accords protection under the following legislations with various offices under different Ministries of Government of India. This is causing confusion among the industry for their applications to different authorities. Some times an industry making application for Copyrights registration of their artistic work of their logo, becomes mandatory to procure permission from the Trademarks Registry. In the same way when any Biological product is used in an invention applied for patent, it becomes mandatory to obtain permission from the Biodiversity Authority which is under different Ministry or Department of GOI.
Though the present IP Policy recommends for merger of Copyrights Authority under the Controller General of Intellectual Property, the other IP protection bodies must also be brought under the same roof.
Fifth: International Inventions Trade Shows:
India is wealth of technical brains. People are with scientific temper. When proper encouragement and awareness is created, the inventions will flow like a river. For this there should be organised half yearly shows (exhibitions) by the respective State Governments to show case ones invention/discovery. The best products must be selected for the yearly national show (international attention should be brought) and showcased the best inventions selected from the regional shows. By having such national and international shows, the industry will show enthusiasm towards the new development and these new inventions can be commercialized or sold at these exhibitions.
By arranging these International exhibition for new inventions at one place every year, we can easily attract the world-wide entrepreneurs and also declare awards for the best commercially successful invention etc.,
For example Taiwan International Invention show welcomes exhibitors from 18 countries, including Japan, Thailand, Malaysia and Poland with more than 500 inventors exhibiting more than 1,500 inventions every year. More than 80,000 buyers are expected to visit this three-day show and is Asia’s biggest inventions exhibition.
Last but not least, I would like to say that the present IP Policy should be implemented with immediate effect and in short time we can achieve “Creative india- Innovative India”.
“Once upon in ancient India, Diamonds were sold on Indian streets, now inventions will be sold like Diamonds.
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