In a knowledge driven economy where market intelligence and speed to market is a prerequisite to gain leadership; innovation has become an important factor for influencing competitive differentiation and value creation. This economy belongs to entrepreneurs who are driven by creativity and innovation. In this era, knowledge creation and creativity are the primary factors to grow and sustain in the fiercely competitive market. In this ever-increasing competitive and complex market, organizations must focus on their intellectual property and exploit IP as a strategic lever for creating competitive advantage. The enterprises must seek to protect innovations across the product development cycle and commercialize its evolving IP to maintain leadership in the market. Intellectual Property refers to protection of human creativity and encompasses the originality of products, processes, know-how which can be protected through patents, trademarks, copyrights and designs. Intellectual property is useful to create competitive advantage in the emerging economy and further exploit it for commercial purposes such as licensing. With the pace of technological developments continues to accelerate resulting in more opportunities for innovation challengers, thus enabling organizations to adopt IP as an essential tool for protection of innovation and sustainable development. In this competitive landscape, IP rights have become a valuable asset, thus making it necessary for organizations to embrace IP strategy to protect their inventions and get awarded in damages for IP infringement. Unlike the developing countries, the private sector in developed countries has increased their investments in research and development (R&D) and anticipates high financial returns which are linked closely to the IP.
The new IPR policy came in the backdrop of US keeping a close watch on India’s IPR regime and has put India on its priority watch list through its special 301 report. To further strengthen the IPR regime in India, the Indian government unveiled the national Intellectual Property Rights policy last week with the slogan ‘Creative India, Innovative India’. The policy suggested tax incentives for startups and encourages them with loan guarantee schemes and covers the risk of failure in commercialization based on IPRs as mortgageable assets. However, the policy doesn’t suggest any change in provisions in the Patents Act 1970, including section 3(d) and compulsory licensing. In simple terms, a compulsory licence allows a domestic drug manufacturer to produce patented drugs that are not available to the public at a reasonable price. Although there are many concerns expressed by developed countries and pharma companies about section 3(d) of the Indian Patent Act 1970 and compulsory licensing (CL). The section does not allow patent to be granted to inventions involving new forms of a known substance unless it differentiates significantly in properties with regard to efficacy. Additionally, many US based pharma companies have alleged that India’s IPR regime is not in compliance with global norms and need to enhance IPR protection and remove market restrictions.
In an effort to boost creativity and promote innovation, the new policy aims to expedite the time taken to approve a trademark to a month by 2017 from a year, currently. The policy also suggested that the DIPP will be the nodal agency for regulating the IP rights in the country. The policy focused on strengthening the IPR regime in the country, enforcement and commercialization and measures for IP infringement. The policy is introduced at a time when developed countries are embracing stronger IPR regime beyond the TRIPS agreement through mega-traditional agreements. With ever-increasing technological advances and globalization, the new policy aims to safeguard the interests of large enterprises and entrepreneurs that are combating with IP infringements. According to industry estimates, more than 237,000 applications were pending in country’s patent offices. Also, India ranked 29 out of 30 countries in the International IP Index released by the Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) of the US Chamber of Commerce. These ranking measures gauge the overall IP ecosystem in the country as compared to other countries.
The policy highlights seven objectives as mentioned below:
- IPR Awareness: The IPR policy aims to increase awareness about economic, social, cultural benefits of Intellectual Property among all sections of society.
- Boost Innovation: In order to promote innovation in the country and reduce dependence on foreign technologies or products, the policy focuses on investment in R&D by private sector. This will help innovators and entrepreneurs to focus on innovation and create an ecosystem where knowledge and ideas can be protected by various IPR tools namely patents, trademarks, copyrights, etc.
- Legal Framework – Inventions can only be protected through robust IPR framework wherein IP rights can be enforced in case of IP infringement. The government aims to protect the interests of innovators and create more intellectual property. It plans to create stringent measures to combat IP infringement.
- Administration and management – The policy aims to strengthen service-oriented administration through digitization of all government filings through IP India’s site by 2017 which will make the process hassle free and reduce the time for IPR filings.
- Commercialization of IP – The IPR policy aims to help entrepreneurs and innovators to realize the true potential of their intellectual property and gain competitive advantage in the market. Intellectual Property can be more valuable as compared to tangible assets when the entrepreneur decides to sell his business or at the time of valuation. Enterprises can also generate revenue through commercialization of IP.
- Enforcement and Adjudication – The government aims to protect intellectual property through stringent measures and mitigate the risk related to IP infringements. It will help innovators to develop indigenous products that can protected through patents, trademarks, copyrights, etc. and follow the best measures to protect their intellectual property from potential infringers.
- Human Capital Development – The policy aims to strengthen and expand human resources, training and development institutions to raise awareness about IPR and open R&D centers to facilitate growth of IP assets.
To conclude, the policy suggests making the DIPP as a nodal agency so that all the patent applications can be addressed under one roof. However, the agency need to ensure the IP rights are enforced so that the innovators can be rewarded and reap high returns on investment through commercialization. There is also a need to create IP ecosystem to create, protect, and manage intellectual property keeping in mind the wider public interest and strengthen the legal framework to encourage IPR regime.