It is very important for India to defend its IPR. And India wants to protect its rights in world trade.
Last year, Indian Government has released India’s National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy. 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.’
Why we need this Policy?
- Global drug brands led by US companies have been pushing for changes to India’s intellectual property rules for quite some time now. They have often complained about India’s price controls and marketing restrictions.
- Also, an IPR policy is important for the government to formulate incentives in the form of tax concessions to encourage research and development (R&D). It is also critical to strengthen the Make In India, Startup and Digital India schemes.
- The IPR policy comes at a time when India and other emerging countries faces fresh challenges from the developed world and mega regional trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Aim of the Policy
- 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.
- The policy is entirely compliant with the WTO’s agreement on TRIPS.
- Special thrust on awareness generation and effective enforcement of IPRs, besides encouragement of IP commercialisation through various incentives.
- What do Policy say on Interanational Treaties and Agreements?
- 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
Suggestion for DIPP
- 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.
- On Compulsory Licensing – According to the policy, India will retain the right to issue so-called compulsory licenses to its drug firms, under “emergency” conditions.
- Also, the government has indicated that there is no urgent need to change patent laws that are already fully World Trade Organization–compliant.
- So India has resisted pressure from the US and other Western countries to amend its patent laws.
- The policy also specifically does not open up Section 3(d) of the Patents Act, which sets the standard for what is considered an invention in India, for reinterpretation.
- 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.
Possible Benefits of the Policy
- The new policy will try to safeguard the interests of rights owners with the wider public interest, while combating infringements of intellectual property rights.
- By 2017, the window for trademark registration will be brought down to one month. This will help in clearing over 237,000 pending applications in India’s four patent offices.
- It also seeks to promote R&D through tax benefits available under various laws and simplification of procedures for availing of direct and indirect tax benefits.
- Unlike earlier where copyright was accorded to only books and publications, the recast regime will cover films, music and industrial drawings. A host of laws will also be streamlined — on semi-conductors, designs, geographical indications, trademarks and patents.
- The policy also puts a premium on enhancing access to healthcare, food security and environmental protection.
- Policy will provide both domestic and foreign investors a stable IPR framework in the country. This will promote a holistic and conducive ecosystem to catalyse the full potential of intellectual property for India’s growth and socio–cultural development while protecting public interest.
- It is expected to lay the future roadmap for intellectual property in India, besides putting in place an institutional mechanism for implementation, monitoring and review. The idea is to incorporate global best practices in the Indian context and adapt to the same.
Q.) “According to the IPR policy, India will retain the right to issue so-called compulsory licenses to its drug firms, under “emergency” conditions.” Discuss the concerns of some of the westerner countries which are against this policy of India