Intellectual Property Rights in India

In response to the culture of innovative and creativity that has been transforming India into a digital and knowledge economy, the Indian government has been expanding and fortifying its Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) framework

November 23, 2017

The policy is entirely compliant with the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) agreement on TRIPS (Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights) and provides strong protection for IPR

The Indian government is working on building general awareness among citizens on the concept and issues of IPR

Intellectual Property in India is the purview of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, and managed by the Office of the Controller of Patents, Designs & Trade Marks

The Indian government continues its efforts to support and encourage trade and entrepreneurship

In response to the culture of innovation and creativity that has been transforming India into a digital and knowledge economy, the Indian government has been expanding and fortifying its Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) framework. The well-established Legislative, administrative and judicial framework that exists to safeguard IPRs was updated in 2016 by a policy that sets in place a roadmap for IPRs of the future.

Compliance with global practices

The policy is entirely compliant with the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) agreement on TRIPS (Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights) and provides strong protection for IPR.  As an active and engaged member of the global community, India understands the importance of  constructive negotiations of international treaties and agreements and of meeting its international obligations while using the provisions to safeguards its own interests. The public interest clauses in the India IPR align with the flexibility allowed by TRIPS to all countries and are used in a restrained and judicious manner where a national emergency or health crisis is at stake. The very limited cases where flexibility has been exercised are in line with global IPR practices and had to undergo a thorough scrutiny by tribunals, appellate authorities and the judicial system.

Understanding the importance of IPR as a marketable financial asset and an economic tool, the Indian government is using it to promote innovation and entrepreneurship

Safeguarding innovation

The Indian government is working on building general awareness among citizens on the concept and issues of IPR, especially the importance of building IPR for themselves as well as respecting the IPR of others. Understanding the importance of IPR as a marketable financial asset and an economic tool, the Indian government is using it to promote innovation and entrepreneurship.

Offices and processes are being overhauled with the goal of reducing the time taken to examine and register applications. The support staff has been expanded and the time taken to scrutinise trademarks has been reduced from 13 months to 8 months, with plans to further improve it so that it takes no more than 1 month. This will also further the broader agenda of helping increase the filings of domestic IPRs and supporting them all the way from generation to commercialisation. Plans have also been initiated to set up an Intellectual Property Exchange to help support and monetise intellectual property. The exchange, to be developed under the aegis of the Ministry of Science and Technology, will provide a platform for individuals and corporate entities to buy and sell IP rights, including patents, designs, trademarks and geographical indications, in a variety of sectors.

Efforts to simplify IPR, copyright requests

Intellectual Property in India is in the purview of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, and managed by the Office of the Controller of Patents, Designs & Trade Marks in the Department of  Industrial Policy & Promotion. In addition to patents, designs and trademarks, the office also handles the processing of geographical indications (GI). Copyright related requests and applications are handled by the Copyright office which is also under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion. Applications can be handled online and the web site provides detailed information about the process and status.

As the Indian government continues its efforts to support and encourage trade and entrepreneurship, its policies and execution on IPR will continue to evolve and stay current with global trends.

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