Centre for Internet & Society

This is the first blog post in a series of posts on India's National IPR Policy. In this post, CIS intern, Varnika Chawla traces the evolution of the National IPR Policy.

Significant changes have been implemented in the Intellectual Property regime of India since India's accession to TRIPS in 1995. This post details the timeline of the development of Intellectual Property law in India, highlighting the discourse around the formulation of a National IPR Policy. The author has also looked at the formulation of IP Strategies in different nations across the world, summarized in the infographic, observing that the trend for the same is very recent and has only emerged over the last decade.

"Intellectual Property Right is a private right recognized within the territory of a country and assigned to an individual or individuals for a specified period of time in return for making public, the results of their creativity and innovation." India has a well-established and comprehensive legislative, judicial and administrative framework for intellectual property. The decade of 2010-2020 was declared as the Decade of Innovation, with an objective of expanding the space for dialogue for inclusive growth. With the emergence of globalization, the Indian society has become more knowledge-intensive giving rise to rapid development in the field of information technology and consequently intellectual property, thereby increasing the role of the legislature as well as the judiciary to protect and promote intellectual property rights.

India gained membership of the World Trade Organization in 1995. This membership initiated a new round of revisions resulting in the upheaval of the Indian intellectual property system. All IP legislations were hereby required to comply with the provisions of the TRIPS Agreement by 2000, with the exception of the Patents Act, which had an extended time limit to be compliant till 2005.

The Indian system of intellectual property rights is designed in a manner to ensure the protection of intellectual property while maintaining a balance between rights and obligations. There are several legislations which deal with the protection of intellectual property in India. These include thePatents Act, 1970, the Trade Marks Act, 1999, theGeographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, the Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout Design Act, 2000, the Competition Act, 2002 as well as theBiological Diversity Act, 2002. India is also thefirst country to ratify theMarrakesh Treaty, 2013 for access to copyright works for visually impaired persons. India also recently acceded to the Madrid Protocol in 2013.

National IP Strategy and the Role of WIPO

A National IP strategy has been defined by WIPO as "a vehicle for creating better functional linkages between the national economic objectives, development priorities and resources, and the IP system of the country concerned."[1] It is therefore a set of policy measures undertaken by governments in order to facilitate the proper use of IP as a strategic tool, for economic, social, cultural and technological development.[2] WIPO also gave the framework of the planning process each country should implement, in its efforts to adopt an IP strategy. As per this, the process is divided into four main stages:

  • Government initiative
  • Establishment of a National IP Strategy Formulation Committee
  • Presentation of draft strategy before stakeholders
  • Government approval of National IP Strategy,[3]

WIPO can assist in the formulation of a National IP Strategy by advising the governments as well as providing technical expertise during the planning process and providing support and assistance as and when required.[4]

India's National IPR Strategy

Realizing the significance of having a strong and well-balanced IP system in the emerging economy of India, several initiatives have been undertaken by the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion at the policy level to create an environment conducive for the development of intellectual property and technology. Accordingly, a draft for the National IPR Strategy, outlining a set of measures and guidelines to encourage and facilitate the effective creation, protection, management and commercialization of IP for accelerating economic, social, cultural and technological development and for enhancing enterprise competitiveness prepared by the Sectoral Innovation Council on IPR was released by DIPP on September 26, 2012, inviting views from various stakeholders. It was felt that the National IP Strategy needs to be developed in a manner such that it is integrated with the overall national plan for development in order for better cooperation with IP components of specific and targeted national strategies in areas such as trade and investment, education, food and agriculture, science and technology etc.

Subsequently, a revised draft for the National IPR Strategy in India was released on July 21, 2014, detailing a vision statement, objectives and means to achieve the same.

The DIPP constituted an IPR Think Tank , as notified on November 13, 2014, in order to draft the National Intellectual Property Rights Policy and to advise DIPP on IPR-related issues. Finally, a First Draft of the National IPR Policy was submitted by the IPR Think Tank on December 19, 2014 , inviting comments and suggestions from all stakeholders on or before January 30, 2015.

National IP Strategies: Around the World

WIPO Member States adopted 45 recommendations at the 2007 General Assembly, made by the Provisional Committee on Proposals Related to a WIPO Development Agenda. This also included Member States setting up "appropriate national strategies in the field of intellectual property." These recommendations were identified for immediate and effective implementation, resulting in countries beginning to adopt the same, with the objective of promoting and enforcing IP rights. The info-graphic below highlights the formulation of IP Strategies in Member States around the world.

National IPR Policy

China announced its "National Intellectual Property Strategic Principles" in June, 2008. Japan established its "Intellectual Property Strategy Headquarters" in 2003, and its Intellectual Property Strategic Program in 2004, while USA legislated the " Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act" in 2008. Furthermore, the Presidential Advisory Council on Education, Science and Technology in Korea announced the " Strategy for Intellectual Property System Constructing Plan" on June 27, 2006, consisting of three aspects: Creation and Application, Law and Regulation, and Infrastructure. The European Union has adopted a " Strategy for the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in Third Countries", aimed at evaluating the recent major changes that have taken place in the international IP arena, preparing to meet the challenges in an effective manner. Finland adopted " The Government's Resolution on the Strategy Concerning Intellectual Property Rights " on March 26, 2009. Therefore, it is observed that the trend of National IP Strategies has only started recently, in the last decade.

Therefore we see the emerging need of an all-encompassing IP Policy arising in nations around the world, aimed at promoting a holistic environment conducive to the development of Intellectual Property.

[1] WIPO's Contribution to the Elaboration and Implementation of Strategies and National Plans for the Development of IP and Innovation , WTO Strategic Planning Workshop, Geneva, Switzerland, June 13, 2014.

[2] Id .

[3] Id .

[4] Id.

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