National IPR Policy: Marking 2 years

By Ms Pragya Chaturvedi

The National IPR Policy was launched on 12th May, 2016. To mark two years of the policy being in force, Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) on 16th May, 2018 organized a one-day conference on the National IPR Policy in New Delhi. With Creative India; Innovative India as the policy clarion call and Lets talk IP as event hashtag of the day, the conference started off with a welcome address by Avipsha Thakur, Assistant Vice President, CIPAM.

The National IPR Policy was launched in 2016 with the tri-fold objective of creating IPR awareness among the public, streamlining the process of securing IPs, and sensitizing investors and IP creators on protecting and enforcing their intellectual property.

The discussions took place over four sessions with focus on women innovators, enforcement of intellectual property rights, the progress made in respect of implementation of National IPR Policy, and government initiatives on strengthening the intellectual property regime in India.

Inaugural Session: Policy Perspective on Women in Innovation

The session focused on this year’s theme for World IP Day which revolves around women in innovation and creativity. Ms. Thakur started her presentation and address with emphasis on the fact that both innovation and creativity are the foundation stones for creating and maintaining a competitive edge for any nation.

Ms. Thakur’s presentation highlighted 170 action points of the policy, spanning across 7 key objectives.

Keeping in line with the theme of this year’s World IP Day, this session was marked with addresses by two accomplished women in their own right.

Ms. Pranalee Thorat from National Physical Laboratory (NPL) India spoke about her research to support industries in tandem with the mandate of Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to accurately maintain the Indian Standard Time (IST). She also shed some light on the importance of perfectly calibrated missile launch time where even a difference of one second in the launch time would launch the missile into another country! Ms. Thorat spoke to the audience about her invention “Mobile Teleclock” which has been granted a patent in India and which works on a wireless mobile telephone network.

Her address was followed by insights from Ms. Anupama Malik from VIZARA Tech which is being incubated at Technology Business Incubator (TBI), IIT Delhi. The company makes use of virtual reality to provide users an immersive experience of visiting historical monuments without physically visiting the place. She also grasped the audience’s attention by highlighting the use of 3D printers in creating miniature models of historical monuments which can be showcased to tourists. She asserted that it is the right time for women to be heralding a startup in India.

Keynote speaker for the session, Mr. Naresh Prasad, Assistant Director General, WIPO, spoke about the merger of Copyright office with other Industrial Property Rights under the DIPP, MInistry of Commerce and Industry. This in his view is an effective step towards creating an efficient and robust IP system. He iterated his belief in the fact that it is important to incentivize creativity and innovation for everyone and there is no disparity between the innovative skills of men and women. The only disparity is between its visibility in the marketplace and that is the reason behind this year’s World IP Day theme, to stimulate discussion on this topic and celebrate achievements of women innovators.

Mr. Prasad also highlighted that as opposed to the highest percentage of women inventors in biotech, pharmaceuticals, chemistry, and telecommunication; the number of women innovators is lowest in the field of mechanical and civil engineering. To encourage the entry and participation of women in STEM fields, he also spoke about the role of parental, familial, and cultural influences in shaping up the career of women.

Mr. Rajiv Aggarwal, in his closing remarks for the session, emphasized on the importance of breaking gender stereotypes associated with women and encouraged women innovators to not get dissuaded by negative perceptions surrounding them.

Awareness & Generation of IPR: Start-up Ecosystem

The next session started with an address from Prof. Sudhir. K. Jain from IIT, Delhi who spoke on the A2Z of intellectual property, starting from ideation, identification of problems, IP creation, IP application, and IP valuation, moving on to technology marketing, negotiation, IP maintenance, and IP Portfolio Management, and concluding with further research and development.

Prof. Jain’s address was followed by an address from Mr. Avnindra Mohan, VP Legal, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited who observed the pertinence of copyright law in issues relating to the media & entertainment industry and stated that it is the era of of co-existence of knowledge and wealth where knowledge is the means of creation and generation of wealth.

Mr. Ram Mohan Mishra, Additional Secretary and Development Commissioner, MSME, in his address spoke about the need for acknowledging innovation which suffer from a lack of recognition and not from a lack of innovative capabilities of inventors. He also stated that it is important to outsource facilitation of IP protection by collaborating with academics and the government.

Commercialization of IP: Role of ADR and Commercial Courts

The penultimate session commenced with an address from Justice Manmohan singh, Chairman IPAB spoke about appointment of technical members from copyright and trademark in IPAB which is going to take place soon and also stated that the need for commercial courts in adjudication of IP matters is needed because of the delay in disposal of IP cases through regular channels. Speaking on Alternative Dispute Resolution and its importance, he stated that it is a unique solution for skipping long-drawn legal battles and resolving them outside the court.

Mr. Gurmahinder Singh, Senior Scientific Officer and In-charge of TISC Punjab introduced the PIC, IPFC, and PSInC initiatives of the Centre where the PIC is responsible for Patent searches and filing, setting up IPR Cells in universities, conducting IP awareness workshops, and collaborating with CIPAM, DIPP, Government of India, and WIPO for implementation of National IPR Policy. The center has also been successful in obtaining GI registration for the Phulkari art of Punjab. The IP Facilitation Centre assists startups and MSMEs in protecting their intellectual property and charges them only a minimal amount. The PSInC is responsible for harnessing local talent through hand-holding and organizing award functions.

Mr. Javed Akhtar, who is the Chairman of Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) commenced his address by introducing himself as an IP Creator and also asserted that the music industry has been at the “non-receiving end” of IP. He expressed happiness at the unanimous approval of the 2012 amendment to the Copyright Act, which bestows upon performers, the same moral rights as authors of the work. He also thanked Mr. Rajiv Aggarwal and Mr. Suresh Prabhu for taking quick strides in ensuring that IP creators are able to assert their rights and also emphasized on the need of increasing the scope of revenue collection through IP along the lines of Peru, Argentina, and Columbia where Indian music is hugely popular and there is remarkable revenue collection from cafes and restaurants playing Indian music.

Dr. Anil Wali, Managing Director, Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FITT), spoke at length about the role of academics in research & development relating to IP and IP commercialization and stated that achieving excellence in science and creating new technology are not mutually exclusive. He cited the development of SmartCane by IIT Delhi, a smart version of the regular cane for the visually impaired which acts as a travel guide and makes use of infrared technology to detect obstacles and objects around a person. The device has been developed in association with the industry, academia, and the user community.

Valedictory Session

The last session of the day was marked with multiple highlights. Honorable Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Mr. Suresh Prabhu launched a video on anti-piracy by Actor Amitabh Bachchan.  Mr. Prabhu also launched IP Nani, the official IP mascot of the Government of India.

Mr. Prabhu, in his address, re-iterated the government’s commitment towards strengthening and enabling robust functioning of IP systems. He also stated that towards achievement of this objective, the government has issued directions for disposal of patent applications within a matter of few months.

The minister also stressed upon generation and dissemination of awareness about intellectual property rights as important as having some kind of penal sanction for infringement of IP. Instilling awareness among children about IP rights and the importance of protecting intellectual property will go a long way in combating piracy.

The event concluded with a vote of thanks by Ms. Avipsha Thakur who expressed her gratitude to the speakers, guests, and delegates for their presence and valuable contributions and insights in making the event a success.