The Ministry of Commerce and Industry of the Government of India released the much awaited National IPR Policy (“the Policy”) on May 13, 2016, with a vision to transform India as a knowledge economy. Under the tag line “Creative India; Innovative India,” the Policy hopes to catalyse the innovation ecosystem towards India’s economic growth and socio-cultural development.

Highlights of some key initiatives of the Policy are summarized below:

Awareness, Education, Creation, and Commercialization:

  • Promote IPR education to judiciary, enforcement agencies, industries and academic institutions to develop a robust innovation economy.
  • Promote research and innovation in areas of national importance, such as, energy and food security, healthcare, agriculture, biotechnology, nanotechnology, new materials, and information and communication technology (ICT).
  • Open the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) to public and private entities to further research endeavours.
  • Encourage domestic and foreign R&D units to create, protect and utilize IPRs in India.
  • Encourage generation of IPRs by linking research funding and career progression with creation of IP.
  • Provide tax benefits, financial support, and loan guarantees to encourage R&D and commercialization of IP.
  • Provide Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) credits for funding public R&D units.

Legal and Administrative Framework:

  • Create a policy for the protection of trade secrets.
  • Accede to international treaties and agreements that are to India’s benefits.
  • Examine the feasibility to join Centralized Access for Search and Examination (CASE) and WIPO Digital Access Services (DAS) to improve processing efficiency.
  • Designate the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) as the nodal agency for Intellectual Property Rights in India.
  • Administer the Copyright Act as well as the Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout-Design Act and the associated registries under DIPP.
  • Ensure availability of Standards Essential Patents (SEP) on fair, reasonable, and non- discriminatory (FRAND) terms.
  • Streamline regulatory processes for speedy approval for manufacturing and marketing of drugs without compromising on safety and efficacy.
  • Provide expedited examination of patent applications to promote manufacturing in India.
  • Fix and adhere to timelines for grant of registrations and disposal of oppositions for patents and trademarks.
  • Review existing IP laws and where necessary, revise to improve and remove anomalies and inconsistencies.
  • Embrace international best practices and technology to improve services, reduce backlogs, and harmonize practices amongst various Intellectual Property India Offices (IPOs).
  • Establish effective coordination between the IPOs, the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA), the Protection of Plant Variety and Framer’s Rights Authority, and other government agencies to streamline approvals; share training and expertise; and adopt best practices.
  • Augment human resources by providing attractive career opportunity to attract and retain best talent to improve efficiency and productivity.

Enforcement:

  • Create socio-cultural shift to value and respect IPRs.
  • Sensitize and encourage IP creators to protect and enforce their rights.
  • Embrace technology-based enforcement measures.
  • Educate and strengthen training initiatives for law officers, IP administrators and the judiciary to increase awareness of IPRs.
  • Initiate stringent actions to curb manufacture and sale of misbranded, adulterated and spurious drugs.
  • Adjudicate IP disputes through special Commercial Courts.
  • Encourage alternate dispute resolution (ADR) for IP disputes.