The national intellectual property rights (IPRs) policy, announced last week, will encourage proper documentation of traditional knowledge and protect well-developed systems like Ayurveda, Yoga and naturopathy from misappropriation, commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Monday.
Citing the example of the Nobel prize being awarded to a Chinese woman in 2015 in recognition of her work that was heavily influenced by ancient Chinese texts, Sitharaman said: “If the Chinese could break through, why is that India, in Ayurveda, has not gone to that extent? If it is possible now (to do such things in India), with the announcement of this policy, we will encourage that,” she said. India has also successfully experimented with traditional ways of conserving water, and the IPR policy caters for the preservation of such systems, she added. China’s Tu Youyou became the first woman of that country to win the coveted Nobel prize in medicine for her work on Malaria.
Sitharaman said the IPR policy, which calls for suitable amendment to the Indian Cinematography Act, 1952, will be implemented effectively to counter piracy. The policy will not only boost innovation in the country, but also help conversion of copyrights and patents for commercial use, she said.
Although courts have upheld the rule of law and sought to protect rights of patent holders, the government has given a renewed direction to such efforts through this policy. “With this policy, we have given a direction to the whole idea of how we are going to sustain and build on the interest for innovation, how R&D is going to strengthen India’s patent related matters and how, as a government, we are going to help them improve awareness levels (relating to IPR),” Sitharaman added.
“Also, most importantly in India, conversion of copyright of patents for commercial use has never been a vibrant space,” she said. Very few people bother to register a patent or apply for a copyright and those who did thought that converting it for commercial use was not their cup of tea, she added. “That dichotomy had undermined the potential that existed. This policy, the way in which we have drawn the action plan for startups and trying to link it all up to creativity and to the larger public, that’s where I think the policy has come very well. “Make it possible for every patent that has the potential for commercial use, make it possible for every copyright that has the potential for commercial use,” Sitharaman noted.