An Overview of the National IPR Policy 2016

The National IPR Policy ("Policy") was released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion ("DIPP"), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India on May 12, 2016. This Policy succeeds the First Draft which was released in December 2014.

The Policy's mission statement:

"Stimulate a dynamic, vibrant and balanced intellectual property rights system in India to foster creativity and innovation and thereby, promote entrepreneurship and enhance socio-economic and cultural development, and focus on enhancing access to healthcare, food security and environmental protection, among other sectors of vital social, economic and technological importance."

India has acceded to the NICE Classification of goods and services for the purpose of registration of trademarks. In order to foster creativity and innovation, this Policy has been structured in line with national initiatives such as “Make in India”, “Digital India”, “Skill India”, “Start Up India”, etc. for "Creative India, Innovative India".

The Policy has laid out the following seven objectives:

  • 1. IP awareness: Outreach and Promotion - To create public awareness about the economic, social and cultural benefits of IPRs among all sections of society;
  • 2. Generation of IPRs - To stimulate the generation of IPRs;
  • 3. Legal and Legislative Framework - To have strong and effective IPR laws, which balance the interests of rights owners with larger public interest;
  • 4. Administration and management - To modernize and strengthen service-oriented IPR administration;
  • 5. Commercialization of IPR - Get value for IPRs through commercialization;
  • 6. Enforcement and Adjudication - To strengthen the enforcement and adjudicatory mechanisms for combating IPR infringements; and
  • 7. Human Capital Development - To strengthen and expand human resources, institutions and capacities for teaching, training, research and skill building in IPRs.

The vision of the Policy is to create an India where knowledge is the main driver of development, and knowledge owned is transformed into knowledge shared. This requires a major paradigm shift of how knowledge is viewed and valued - not for what it is, but for what it can become.

Key highlights of the Policy:

  • 1. To create IPR Awareness

    As part of its outreach and promotion, IPR will be introduced as part of academic curriculum in educational institutions, especially universities, law and technical institutions. The Government will also engage with the media in order to sensitize them to IP related issues.

  • 2. To generate IPRs
    • R&D will be encouraged by including open source based research such as Open Source Drug Discovery (OSDD) by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for new inventions for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, especially those that are life threatening and those that have high incidence in India;
    • Promotion of R&D through tax benefits available under various laws, through simplification of procedures for availing direct and indirect tax benefits;
    • Creation of an effective and simple loan guarantee scheme in order to encourage start-ups and cover the risk of genuine failures in commercialization based on IPRs as mortgage-able assets;
    • Providing special incentives for creation of IPRs in green technologies and manufacture of energy efficient equipment;
    • The ambit of Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) will be expanded to include other fields besides Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani and Siddha;
    • IPR generation for ICT technologies, including those relating to cyber security for India, will be encouraged.
  • 3. Legal and legislative framework
    • The legal and legislative framework will be strengthened such that the existing IP laws will be reviewed and where necessary, there will be updates to improve them or in case of anomalies and inconsistencies, they will be removed, in consultation with stakeholders.
    • Transfer of clean technology and know-how will be pursued from developed countries to India, as per the provisions of Article 4 of the UNFCCC, in order to meet the objectives of reducing anthropogenic emissions of GHGs and support activities of climate change adaptation;
    • The Policy provides for the Indian Cinematography Act, 1952 to be suitably amended to provide for penal provisions for illegal duplication of films;
    • The administration of the Copyright Act 1957 along with the office of the Registrar of Copyrights, under the Department of Higher Education, is being transferred to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion.
  • 4. Administration and Management
    • Efforts to be made to include TKDL as a part of PCT minimum documentation;
    • Creation of a Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) under the aegis of DIPP to facilitate promotion, creation and commercialization of IP assets;
    • Exploration of the possibility for expedited examination of patent applications to promote manufacturing in India.
  • 5. Commercialisation of IPR
    • Mechanisms to help MSMEs and research institutions to validate pilots and scale up through market testing, will be created;
    • Efforts will be made to reduce dependency on active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) imports, including incentivizing manufacture of APIs in India and revitalizing public sector undertakings in health care sector;
    • Identification of opportunities for marketing Indian IPR-based products, especially GIs, and services to a global audience;
    • Encouraging enterprises to create brand equity from their IP rights, such as trademarks and GIs.
  • 6. Enforcement and Adjudication
    • Strong measures will be taken against attempts to treat generic drugs as spurious or counterfeit;
    • Stringent measures will be undertaken to curb manufacture and sale of misbranded, adulterated and spurious drugs;
    • Public awareness as also legal and enforcement mechanisms, including technology based measures, will be reinforced to combat offline and online piracy;
    • Pursue incidents of misappropriation of TK, GR and TCE in other countries vigorously.
  • 7. Human Capital Development
    • Making IPR an integral part of the curriculum in all legal, technical, medical and management educational Institutions, NIFTs, NIDs, AYUSH Educational Institutes, Agricultural Universities, centres of skill development and the like;
    • Strengthening of existing and creating new IPR cells and technology development and management units in NIDs, NIFTs, Agricultural Universities, Technology and Management Institutes and centres of skill development;
    • Encouraging and supporting capacity building among Women Creators, Innovators, Entrepreneurs, Practitioners, Teachers and Trainers.

Impact of the Policy:

The impact of the Policy would be to:

(i) create awareness among the unaware;

(ii) boost confidence in generating IPR to those who are aware about IPRs; and

(iii) give market share to those who have IPRs.

The IPO is committed to ensuring that right holders’ interests are upheld and that creators and inventors are recognized and rewarded for their ingenuity. As India becomes a knowledge-based economy, building a broader understanding of how IP can add value and improve competitiveness is critical. Building IP awareness and strengthening understanding of how IP can drive business growth, create employment and spur economic development are key priorities that are addressed by the IPR Policy.

Training of different stakeholders is an important part of this effort. The National Institute of Intellectual Property Management in Nagpur plays a central role here and caters to the training needs of a broad range of stakeholders.

Through its outreach efforts, the IPO seeks to maximize industry participation by engaging with industry associations such as the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM). Also, through its Cluster Program, the IPO targets specific industries and sectors, for example SMMEs operating in the leather, auto and textiles industries. The aim is to promote a better understanding of how IP can support businesses and business growth. Similarly, the Academic Institutions Program targets graduates, young university professionals, researchers and government officials dealing with IP rights.

In terms of reaching out to the public, every year India actively participates in World Intellectual Property Day celebrations. Within this context, the IPO confers various National IP Awards to showcase and celebrate India’s inventors and creators and to promote a culture of creativity and IP awareness across the country. IP-related debates and competitions are also promoted in schools, and national media is actively encouraged to air programs in different regional languages on a variety of IP-relatedquestions.

The present Policy will integrate IP as a policy and strategic tool in national development plans and economic tool for the industry.

The Policy plays a positive role in encouraging new business development, rationalization of inefficient industry, and inducing technology acquisition and creation. The policy strengthens patent rights which in turn helps in bringing an inflow of FDI and technology transfer, enhancing national economic growth. The Policy fosters beneficial technical change, thereby improving development prospects, that can be structured in a manner that promotes effective and dynamic competition. The Policy structures Intellectual Property Rights to favor dynamic competition within a system of rights and obligations.

The Policy promotes investments in knowledge creation and business innovation by establishing exclusive rights to use and sell newly developed technologies, goods, and services. By strengthening IP regime, the Policy opens channels through which technology can be transferred across borders, such as contractual licensing of technologies and trademarks to unaffiliated firms, subsidiaries, and joint ventures.

The Policy will coordinate and integrate development of IP systems in India and create a holistic approach on IP legal, administrative, institutional and enforcement related matters that will in-turn prevent knowledge spill-over and contribute in gaining confidence of foreign investors.

R&D spill-overs occur when the results of a company's research benefit other companies in the industry. Such spill-overs are important determinants of patenting activity. Only a stricter patent regime stimulates patenting activity in research-intensive industries in a developing country like India. The contribution of technological spill-overs in filing patents underlines the importance of licensing policies conducive to transfer technology from developed to developing countries; thus by strengthening the enforcement of the IP system in India, the Policy aims to prevent spill-over and gain more FDI.

Popular Views on the Policy

I am personally convinced and want to assure you that India is committed to protect Intellectual Property Rights of all innovators and entrepreneurs. We have taken several initiatives for transparency and online processing in IP administration. A comprehensive National IPR policy is being finalized.

Shri. Narendra Modi
Prime Minister of India
Every country is entitled to defend its economic interests...monopolies are loved by those who own them. Ours is a balanced approach, taking into account inventability, innovation and public health.

Shri. Arun Jaitley
Finance Minister of India
We will not lose out on our traditional knowledge…Our legislative framework is very robust and courts have kept up the rule of law.

Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman
Minister of Commerce and Industry, India