PARLIAMENTARY STANDING COMMITTEE REPORT ON THE IPR REGIME: IPR Club OurLegalWorld
On July 23, 2021, a parliamentary committee, the Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce, delivered a thorough report to Rajya Sabha titled “Review of the Intellectual Property Rights Regime in India” (Report NO.161).
The report, which spans 150 pages, recommends a fundamental overhaul of India’s Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) landscape, citing the country’s lower number of IP filings in 2019 compared to its global peers. The report also underlines the importance of IPR awareness in the country, modifications to IPR laws, active participation of state government, and particular legislation to combat counterfeiting and piracy, among other things. The aforementioned Committee, which included over 30 members from both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, as well as Secretariat’s members, has provided unique insight into India’s IPR regime in its report. IPRs are exclusive rights granted to creators of items resulting from scientific progress, artistic effort, or original research for a specific length of time. In this regard, the Committee has recommended that the IPR Policy be reviewed and reassessed in light of new and emerging trends in the fields of innovation research, which necessitate real IPR measures.
National IPR Policy, 2016
In May 2016, the government passed a comprehensive national intellectual property policy to encourage innovation and creativity across industries and to provide a clear vision on IPR concerns. The following are the policy’s objectives:
- To raise public understanding of the economic, social, and cultural benefits of intellectual property rights (IPRs) across all segments of society.
- To encourage the creation of intellectual property.
- To establish robust and effective IPR laws that strike a balance between the rights holder’s interests and the greater public interest.
- To update and strengthen IPR administration that is focused on service.
- Commercialize IPRs to increase their value.
- In order to counteract IPR infringements, the enforcement and adjudicatory systems must be strengthened.
- Human resources, institutions, and capacities for teaching, training, research, and skill development in IPRs must be strengthened and expanded.
In light of new and developing developments in the fields of innovation and research, the committee believes that a review of IPR policy is necessary. The importance of doing a review is to identify the current obstacles in the implementation of the policy and the remedial actions that must be made to ensure that it is carried out effectively.
State governments & UTs, according to the Committee, could be helpful partners in developing a strong IPR framework. It is suggested that state governments & UTs take an active role in developing policies aimed at raising public awareness about the importance of intellectual property rights, establishing state-level innovation council, and enforcing IPR laws.
IPRs Impact on the Economy
According to a report by the organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), ‘Policy Complements to the strengthening. IPRs in Developing Countries, 2010’, a 1% increase in copyright protection improves Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) by 6.8%. According to survey by the International Trademark Association, trademark industries contribute between 20 and 33 percent of GDP to the economies of countries that employ them. The manufacturing industry in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand has been the biggest contributor. The Committee was informed that India had not conducted any research into the impact of IPRs on its GDP, industry growth, job creation, trade, and commerce, among other things. Furthermore, according to research conducted by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 45 countries, the copyright industry provides between 2 and 10 percentage of GDP.
The Committee recognizes the importance of Intellectual Property Rights in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) to developing nations. A 1% increase in trademark, patent, and copyright protection increases FDI by 3.8, 2.8, 6.8%, respectively. The Committee advises the department of Intellectual Property Rights conduct a thorough analysis of the economic impact.
INDIA’S IPR REGIME: IMPORTANT POINTS TO NOTE
A Summary of some of the major reforms proposed by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce to India’s IPR regime, is as follows:
Studies on the economic impact of IPRs on India’s GDP are required: Other countries and agencies have done in-depth studies to examine the economic impact of IPR, according to the committee. WIPO, for example, looked at the copyright industries of 45 countries and found that they contribute between 2 and 10% of GDP and 5.34% of national employment creation. As a result, India must also conduct such research.
Creativity & Innovations: While focusing on innovation and creativity, the Committee emphasizes the importance of establishing a robust and effective Intellectual Property Rights regime in India that supports and incentivizes innovation and creativity while also safeguarding society’s collective interests. The Report correctly identifies the importance of IPR’s innovation during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, notably in the medical and health sectors.
Involvement of state governments in the development of IPR policy: State governments should be encouraged and aided in developing IPR policies, as their participation will strengthen the country’s IPR regime.
The role of IPR in attracting Foreign Direct Investment to countries: The Committee recognizes the importance of IPRs in enhancing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in countries, particularly emerging countries, where a 1% increase in trademark, patent, and copyright protection increases FDI by 3.8, 2.8, and 6.8%, respectively.
India has less IP filings: In India, just 24,936 patents were granted, compared to 3,54,430 and 4,52,804 patents granted in the United States and China, respectively. The Department informed the Committee that low expenditure on overall Research and Development (R&D) in India is one of the reasons for the lesser number of patent applications. As a proactive step toward improving the country’s research capabilities, the Committee recommends that the government provide incentives to private corporations and companies for doing R&D operations.
Putting a patent pending label on a product: The Committee believes that labelling products with the phrase “patent pending” will acknowledge their integrity and authenticity, providing patentees with marketing benefits. Once a patent is obtained, such marking will serve as a notice to possible infringers, informing them that they may be responsible for damages, seizure, and injunction.
MSMEs and small firms must be aware of Intellectual Property Rights: The Committee is aware that MSMEs in the nation file a relatively small number of IPRs. Non-resident or foreign businesses file the majority of patents in India, accounting for 64% of all patent applications. NGOs connected with craftsmen, artisans, and those working in hilly and tribal areas, according to the Committee, could be involved in raising awareness.
Increasing IP Awareness in India: The Committee has proposed that IPR Facilitation Centers be established in Tier I, Tier II, and distant areas of the country. Organization of programs and workshops that include, among other things, how to identify innovation in their products and how to protect such novelties, such as IPRs.
Establishment of an IP Fund and Promotion of IP Culture: The Committee proposes to the Department that IP funds be established in the country to support programs aimed at embedding IP culture in India’s most remote areas, such as tribal belts, mountainous and border regions, and the North East region.
Piracy & Counterfeiting: The Committee recognizes that IP crimes, such as counterfeiting and piracy, are growing dangers to IPRs that must be regulated and dealt with efficiently by implementing suitable measures. The Committee has advised the Department of Industries, Commerce, and Industry to place a greater emphasis on developing the capacity of enforcement authorities to enforce IP laws.
Artificial Intelligence & IPR: The Committee notes that the relevance and utility of cutting-edge technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning would increase manifold. It has recommended that a separate category of rights for AI and AI-related inventions and solutions should be created for their protection as IPRs.
Reconsider the IPAB’s abolition: In light of IPAB’s vital role in the adjudication of IPR appeals and cases, the Committee believes that its removal under the Tribunals Reforms (Rationalization and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2021 should be reconsidered. The IPAB should be re-established, according to the Committee.
PPH in collaboration with other countries: The Committee advises India to look into the possibility of creating a PPHP with other countries, which would be extremely beneficial to India. In times of pandemic, where the Covid-19 epidemic has resulted in an increase in the submission of innovations for patenting, PPH as an important patent instrument should be supported with governments.
Proposed Amendments to Patent, Trademark & Copyright System: The Committee believes that the four-year time limit for filing an examination report by a patent applicant is excessive, and urges the Department to reduce it. Generic manufacturing in big quantities without the need for patents will help alleviate supply constraints in the availability of affordable pharmaceuticals, treatments, and vaccines. The Committee has suggested that Section 51(1) of the Act be amended to facilitate the creation of a fair and equitable literary cultural ecosystem in the country.
Regards to OTT Contents: The Committee has also thrown some insight on the current state of affairs in regards to OTT content and copyright issues. In light of the surge in digital or OTT platforms with a massive increase in music and movie apps and their major contribution to the economy, the Committee has suggested amending Section 31D of the Act to include ‘internet or digital broadcasters’ under statutory license
The Committee has recommended that India adopt a holistic strategy to achieving and realizing IPR goals. In compared to existing IPR laws in industrialized countries such as the United States, the Committee has recommended many revisions in its 153-page Report. The Committee has also contributed useful insight and suggestions on a wide range of IP-related matters, including Intellectual Property Rights in Agriculture and Traditional Knowledge. In the last few years, India has seen a paradigm shift in terms of IPR filings and administration. However, this well-researched and detailed report concludes that India is still lagging behind, and offers a number of strategies to close the gap.
This blog is written by Jeevan John, a 5th year, B.B.A L.L. B (Hons.) student from Government Law College, Thrissur, Kerala.
 BAR & BENCH, The view point: Parliamentary Committee suggests Review of IPR Regime in India, by Lucy Rana, https://www.barandbench.com/view-point/parliamentary-committee-suggests-review-of-ipr-regime-in-india