Policy draft for special IPR courts in districts

By: | Published: December 31, 2014 4:13 AM

The government has brought out the first draft of the national intellectual property rights (IPR) policy, proposing a slew of new initiatives...

The government has brought out the first draft of the national intellectual property rights (IPR) policy, proposing a slew of new initiatives including review of existing IPR laws, setting up of special IPR courts at the district level and a separate law to give protection to ‘jugaad’ (or utility patents). The draft proposes to make IPR a compulsory subject in institutions and integrate IPR with government initiatives such as ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’.

The commerce ministry, which released the draft on Tuesday, said all stakeholders can send comments and suggestions to ipr@nic.in on or before January 30, 2015. “The document (report) will be updated and further modified by the IPR thinktank on the basis of comments received from stakeholders,” an official statement said.

Among measures that the draft has suggested for implementation include an IP promotion and development council, which will will open IP promotion and development units in all states, smart cities, innovation and industrial clusters to provide single window services to entrepreneurs, startups and manufacturing units for IP awareness, protection and utilisation. The draft proposes expansion of IP support to MSMEs through new or existing IP facilitation centers. “Links will be forged between IPPDU/facilitation centres with IP offices, innovation and research universities, industry associations and financing institutions in order to realise ‘mind to market’ concept. Technology acquisition and development fund under the manufacturing policy will be utilized for licensing or procuring patented technologies,” it added.

On ‘jugaad’ or utility patents, the draft said India has many inventions that may not satisfy the criteria of patentability but are novel, utilitarian and inventive in their own spheres. Such petty patents or `utility models’ is a form of IP which has been successfully applied in many countries but is not available in India, it said, adding that “to reap the full benefits of such inventions the need exists for a new law on utility models.”

While countries such as the US have been pressing New Delhi to bolster IPR in the pharmaceutical sector and steps to avoid unfair commercial use of R&D data made available by their companies to Indian regulators, India is keen to ensure the support of developed countries for its “Make in India” campaign and therefore has started a review of its IPR policy to give confidence to foreign investors.

However, India has not stated whether the IPR policy review will entail a rethink on the additional filter of satisfactory improvement in therapeutic efficacy for patents, over and above the TRIPS criteria of novelty and inventive step. In its April 30 Special 301 report (an annual review of the global state of IPR protection and enforcement), the US had classified India as a ‘priority watch list country’ after finding that India’s IPR protection and enforcement environment had “deteriorated”.

Of 62,613 patents granted from January 1, 2005-October 10, 2014 in 20 sectors, 51,532 went to foreign entities.

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