Financial Express: GIPC co-hosts session with AMCHAM on India’s National IPR Policy

Global innovators highlight the ability of strong IP protections to drive innovation and the need for an action-oriented approach towards the policy

GIPC recently co-hosted an interactive session with AMCHAM on India’s national IPR policy. A diverse group of industry, academic and government experts gathered to share their views on the prospects of the innovative environment in India in the wake of the National IPR Policy. The panelists highlighted the ability of strong IP protections to drive innovation and the need for an action-oriented approach towards the policy. There were two panel discussions which were held, to discuss the hits and misses from the national IPR policy and effective implementation for a synchronisation between practice and policy.

Rajiv Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, DIPP, in his keynote address, shared that there has been a substantive increase in the number of domestic patent and trademark filings, last year.

He further commented, “The National IPR Policy is a dynamic document; a concrete first step for shaping a strategy for the future; which will continue to evolve. We recognise the need to acknowledge our own IP and also protect and encourage the IP for everyone around the world. The government looks at the IPR policy as a tool to help convert a creative idea into something of commercial value for the economic good of the nation.”

Analysing enforcement, as one of the seven key features of the policy, Aggarwal added, “The government recognises enforcement as one of the important pillars of an effective IPR ecosystem and plans on working with all stakeholders for effective enforcement of the policy.”

During the discussions, the panelists argued that the Government’s myopic approach and limitations in updating and strengthening its legal and regulatory framework will do little to spur the high risk/high reward innovation that India needs. Several panelists also echoed the sentiment that India has missed a series of opportunities with regard to IP and trade and discussed India’s prospects if it joins bilateral trade pacts.

Kalpana Reddy, Senior Director, International IP, GIPC, US Chamber of Commerce said: “India realises the need for innovation and is gradually moving away from being a closed economy. It has also started engaging with global entities. However, it has not fully used an IP-led innovation model to unleash its untapped potential. Competitiveness, productivity, innovative outputs, access to capital, growth of jobs, and improving the local environment for innovation all have a link with IP. The National IPR policy’s comprehensive approach to innovation, from creation to commercialisation, is encouraging. While the Government’s attempt to raise awareness is a welcome step, the policy lacks substantial legislative reforms.”

She further added, “The latest edition of the US Chamber International IP Index measures the IP environment in India alongside 37 other economies. The Index found that India’s score was largely unchanged from years past. However, if the policy measures are enacted this is likely to reflect favourably in future scores.”

The policy showcases the government’s acknowledgment of the need to develop a business-welcoming, investment friendly environment, taking the country’s IP regime as a key facilitator for the same. It is imperative to ensure the effective implementation of the policy for successful legislation. The lack of transparency and predictability as well as the lack of coordination between the Centre and State are long standing problems.

Discussing the issues with implementation of the policy, Sanjit Kaur Batra, Co-Chair, AMCHAM IPR Committee, said “Strengthening IP protections and aligning regulatory initiatives with the National Policy will help in capturing the real benefits of IP which include high-value job creation, enhancement on R&D and increment in FDI flow.”

Overall, the panelists seemed to agree that the Indian government has taken a positive first step. But participants also cautioned that the Indian government should not let this policy become another policy document that lacks concrete change.