Does the stranglehold end the IPR’s prospects?

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The case of IPR security in India can be further resolved through policy initiatives, but always a long way to go

The good protection/emphasis granted to intellectual property rights is one of the defining features of a developing world. Patents and trademarks are being zealously defended and deserve complete legal rights. However, this is not the case in developed countries such as India, where IPR security is still a problem, mostly due to low knowledge rates and insufficient and slow judicial procedures.

Progress in IPR

The scope of security cannot be restricted but the improvement has been made since the implementation of the first patent act as the 1970 Patents Act in the 19th century. The first big move was the signing in 1995 of the Trade-Related Elements of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), and then the signing of the Madrid Agreement providing trademark protection.

The need to secure IPR has been accepted in government circles. In 2016, the government unveiled the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Program to encourage creativity and entrepreneurship and study current law to improve it.

IPR apprehensions in India

Little by little progress has been made in maintaining security under IPR. There has been some opposition to greater defence of IPR by some who fear it; this could operate against the interests of India. It may make life-saving medicines, for example, more costly and out of control of vast parts of the Indian populace. The Indian pharmaceutical industry often produces vast quantities of generic drugs that are fairly cheap and available. A stronger IPR policy, it is believed, will make manufacturing these much more complicated. There are also concerns that if seeds and other items are proprietary, stronger IPR laws that impact food health.

The other thing is lack of understanding. A survey by Einfolge, an multinational patent analytics and market analysis company, on ‘Intellectual Property: Protection, Need & Knowledge’ showed that a majority of respondents from over 200 educational institutions in South India, including academics, scholars, teachers and administrators, were not completely informed of the advantages of IP and other relevant matters.

The future of IPR in India

So, what is the prospect of securing intellectual property rights in India? Government will strike a careful compromise between public security and defence of IPRs. However, the advantages of a stronger IPR regime are too difficult to overlook, particularly when India is making tremendous strides in the fields of science & technology, manufacturing, agriculture and culture. Without good IPR security, invention and creativity can’t thrive. Innovative and imaginative people cannot enjoy the benefits of their diligent work.

In India, organizations such as the Centre for Science and Industrial Development (CSIR) have made significant contributions to technological advancement. However, due to lack of good IPR security, they were unable to commercialize many goods.

The business sector still stands to benefit from stricter IPR regulations. According to the Centre of American Entrepreneurship’s 2018 study, ‘Rise of the Global Start-up Town,’ following China and the UK, India is one of the global leaders in start-up development. During the same year, five Indian firms made it to Forbes’ ranking of the most creative corporations during the world. These businesses would therefore benefit from better security of their goods and processes.

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It might not be just the major corporations and organisations who profit. Indians have used indigenous expertise and tools for centuries to come up with valuable daily items. This form of conventional know-how is both a great source of creativity and of work. Ensuring greater legal security would offer ground-breaking creativity a fillip and boost the lives of everyday Indians.

There are three items that will make for the future of IPR in India: recognition of IPR advantages and better compliance and convincing Indians not to jeopardize national interests.

A global movement to harmonize intellectual property (IPR) rules has been taking effect since the 1980s. To order for developing countries, including India and China, to meet this global mandate, they needed to amend their IP laws and upgrade it to international standards. The vast majority of the population has restricted access to vital goods and services. Most developing countries, including India, have historically opted for a ‘bad’ IP rights (IPR) regime. In 1970 India prohibited a fairly revolutionary IP system that offered up to 16 years of patent protection, in fear of price increases in vital goods such as prescription medicines and agricultural chemicals. The Indian Government signed the Treaty on the Trade Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which seeks to make IPRs more competitive in 1994, despite the demand from the representatives of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the developed countries pursuing Indian market entry, India approved the application of drug patents for medicinal, agricultural and chemical products, which came into effect on 1 January 2005, in order to conform with TRIPS.

This reform in patent law was typically somewhat contentious as well as in the IPR. Most Indian politicians have claimed that going ahead with a stronger IPR is likely to operate toward the interests of India, which is to guarantee exposure to basic commodities for a large majority of its people. Because multinational foreign corporations (MNCs) are at the technical boundary in most sectors, they have also argued that a robust IPR may contribute to rent transfers to MNCs, many of which are headquartered in the most advancing countries of the world.

Nonetheless, proponents of strong IPR reject these viewpoints and claim that strong IPR would push MNCs to launch more innovative goods or move technologies in India, some of which could even extend to home businesses. Consequently, they conclude that a good IPR is likely to stimulate creativity globally and encourage faster economic development in developing countries such as India.

Academic work aims to provide broad scientific data in order to address different facets of this debate and to dampen the cumulative socioeconomic impact of high IPRs. While major advances have been made in recognizing the impact of a strong IPR in developed countries, overall results may still obscure complexity, especially in different types of organizations. The papers in this topic aim at showcasing the complexities of science and technology and the economic needs of the numerous Indian stakeholders.