National IPR Policy: Highlights

India is currently ranked at 29th position out of 30 countries in the International IP Index of 2015, released by the Global Intellectual Property Center of the US Chamber of
Commerce. Recently, USA raised concerns over the IPR regime in India and classified India on the ‘priority watch list’ in a special report released by US Trade Representatives (USTR).
As a significant comeback from the constant criticism India faced for its less protective IPR regime, Indian government on May 12, 2016 came up with the much awaited National IPR Policy. To keep you aware of the major policy changes, we present you a brief snapshot of the National IPR Policy:
  1. India’s Commitment to Doha Declaration: India will remain committed to the Doha Declaration on TRIPS Agreement and Public Health.[1]
  1. Linking other campaigns: The Policy intends to link the campaign with other national initiatives such as “Make in India”, “Digital India”, “Skill India”, “Start Up India”, “Smart Cities” and other new initiatives in the future, 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.
  1. Traditional Knowledge Digital Library
  • The ambit of Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) is to be expanded to include other fields besides Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani and Siddha;
  • Public research institutions may be allowed access to TKDL for further R&D, while the possibility of using TKDL for further R&D by private sector may also be explored (provided necessary safeguards are in place to prevent misappropriation);
  • Documenting oral traditional knowledge is also in the offing.
  1. Review with Stakeholders: The Policy intends to review existing intellectual property laws, in consultation with various stakeholders. Further, negotiation of international treaties and agreements may be done in consultation with the stakeholders. India may also examine accession to some of the multilateral treaties which India has de facto.
  1. Duplication of Films: The Policy contemplates amendment of Indian Cinematography Act, 1952 to provide for penal provisions for illegal duplication of films.
  1. More powerful DIPP: The work done by various ministries and departments will be monitored by the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), which will now be the nodal department to coordinate, guide and oversee implementation and future development of IPRs in India. Thus, the administration of the Copyright Act, 1957 and the Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout-Design Act, 2000 is being brought under the aegis of DIPP, besides constituting a Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM).
  1. Renaming of Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks: The office of Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks will be re-designated as ‘Controller General of Intellectual Property Rights’ to reflect its mandate.
  1. Digitization: The Office of the Controller General of Patents Designs and Trademarks is to create a service-oriented culture to make the IP office user friendly and take steps to expedite digitization of the Design office and enable online search and filing. Office of Registrar of Copyrights is to act on the digitization of copyright records.
  1. Role of Commercial Courts in IP Disputes: The Policy contemplates adjudication of IP disputes through Commercial Courts, set up at appropriate level. It also aims at promoting alternate dispute resolutions (ADRs) in the resolution of IP cases by strengthening mediation and conciliation centers.
  1. Capacity Building for women: The Policy encourage and support capacity building among Women Creators, Innovators, Entrepreneurs, Practitioners, Teachers and Trainers.
  2. Patent Fee Waiver: In line with the recent Startup India Policy, the present Policy introduces ‘first-time patent’ fee waiver and support systems for MSMEs and reduce transaction costs in other ways (e.g. prior art search) etc.
  1. Speedier Trademark filing: The window for trademark registration will be brought down to one month, to reduce the time taken by the government to approve a trademark to a month by 2017. Registration of a trademark currently takes around a year.
  1. Compulsory Licensing: India would retain the right to issue so-called compulsory licenses to its drug firms, under “emergency” conditions, and would not immediately need to change patent laws that were already fully WTO-compliant.

Download the Complete National IPR Policy here

[1] The Doha Declaration is a 2001 WTO text which recognized that IP and patent regimes have to be looked at in the context of burning health issues such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other diseases.

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