The portion of the Indian constitution dealing with startups and intellectual property law (IPR) has always been embarrassingly thin. This appears to be an attempt to fill the hole in India’s intellectual property regime. The legislators made it a point to revise existing intellectual property legislation in cooperation with stakeholders. All of this was accomplished as part of the ‘Digital India’ and ‘Make in India’ programmes.
‘The goal is to clarify and simplify these rules, as well as to make the procedures more visible and time-bound.’
What is the purpose of intellectual property rights?
The New IPR Policy 2016 is properly thought out and establishes the following IPR objectives:
1. The primary goal of IPR is to raise public knowledge about the advantages of intellectual property across all segments of society.
2. To encourage the production and expansion of intellectual property by implementing appropriate measures.
3. To establish robust and effective IP rights legislation that is compatible with international responsibilities.
4. To modernise and enhance intellectual property administration.
5. To accelerate the commercialization of intellectual property rights.
6. To enhance the enforcement and adjudicatory processes for addressing IP infringement, as well as to raise knowledge and respect for intellectual property rights.
7. Capacity development via the enhancement and expansion of human resources, institutions for training, research, and skill development in intellectual property.
Furthermore, the government has not been half-hearted in its efforts to provide us with improved intellectual property legislation. It has not only created a policy but also plans to implement certain well-thought-out steps to attain the IPR goal of the same.
It establishes a technology transfer and licencing mechanism for Standard Essential Patents (SEPs), trade secrets, and addresses illicit copying of cinematographic films.
Closely examine the procedures the government intends to take to bring this concept to fruition so that citizens can reap the most benefits.
• Assigning the administration and enforcement of all intellectual property laws to the Department of Industrial Promotion and Policy (DIPP). Previously, they were overseen by the Ministries of Human Resource Development and Communications and Technology.
• Conducting an IP audit to identify sector-specific improvements.
• Improving information and communications technology infrastructure at all levels to make administration more efficient.
• Encouraging the injection of funding into R&D.
• Launching a statewide promotion campaign dubbed “Creative India; Innovative India” to raise awareness about the benefits of India’s new intellectual property regime. A “Cell for IPR Promotion and Management” under the direction of DIPP may also be established for the promotion, development, and commercialization of IP assets.
• Extending the scope of the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library to include public research institutes as well as private players.
• Improving the enforcement system for greater IPR protection.
• Giving incentives to boost Research and Development by providing tax breaks and financial assistance for items based on intellectual property rights developed by publicly supported research. This IPRs would have to be classified as mortgageable assets.
• Increasing IPR competence in industry, academia, and the legal profession. The Policy attempts to enhance understanding of intellectual property concerns by providing intellectual property rights curricula.
This forward-thinking action by the government to improve the effectiveness of the Intellectual Property regime is a welcome improvement. Given that intellectual property is one of the most valuable assets of startups, boosting the IP culture in India would be nothing short of a game-changer.
However, because the policy does not suggest any changes to the current legislation and merely anticipates the need for future changes, its total impact remains to be determined.